Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse case shocking, move main accused out of Bihar: Supreme Court
The Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) interim report on the Muzaffarpur shelter home case and the influence the home’s promoter, Brajesh Thakur, wielded in the city left the Supreme Court (SC) shocked on Wednesday.
A bench of justices MB Lokur, Deepak Gupta and SA Nazeer termed the report on the sexual abuse in the home as “horrible,” “scary” and “terrible”. The report spoke of how the girls living in the home were sedated and the fact that the 50 feet tall, four-storey building had no ventilation except on the top floor.
The “shocking” details prompted the court to consider transferring Thakur’s custody out of Bihar . “What is this…sedation on children? What is this going on? This is terrible,” the judges said, issuing notice to Thakur, asking why he shouldn’t be moved to another state.
The court even asked the CBI and Bihar police to explain the delay in tracing the whereabouts of former state minister Manju Verma’s husband, Chandrashekhar Verma. The SC had on the last hearing asked Bihar police to probe the alleged recovery of a large quantity of ammunition from the former minister and her husband. Verma had resigned as the social welfare minister following the case. It had come to light that her husband had allegedly spoken to Thakur several times between January and June this year.
Thakur is the prime accused in the case in which over 30 girls were reportedly sexually assaulted in the shelter home, the probe of which was taken over by the CBI. Seventeen people, including Thakur, have been arrested and the agency is on a lookout for five more. Thakur is at present lodged in Bhagalpur jail in Bihar.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar admitted the report was damning. He did not oppose the court’s suggestion to move him out of Bihar.
“Serious allegations are made against Thakur by the CBI and we have also noted the influence wielded by him. In view of the serious nature of allegations made against him, it is not appropriate in continuing his custody in central jail in Bhagalpur or in any other jail in Bihar. Issue notice as to why his custody may not be transferred to another state,” the court said, fixing October 30 as next date of hearing.
The CBI counsel alleged that a mobile phone was recovered from Thakur and that he had communicated with 40 people from inside the prison. Also, when two CBI officers went to question him in jail, Thakur fought with the jail superintendent on letting them in. The other accused, who were interrogated, were tutored by Thakur as they gave identical answers to all the questions.
Advocate Aparna Bhat, assisting the court in the matter, said the jail staff held Thakur in awe because of his power. She asked for the transfer of the trial to another state.