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CBI raids properties of former Bihar minister in Muzaffarpur shelter home case

The CBI on Friday raided nearly a dozen properties in four districts of Bihar, including residences of former state minister Manju Verma in Patna and in her native place Begusarai, in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal case. A hotel belonging to main accused Brajesh Thakur was also raided.

patna Updated: Aug 17, 2018 22:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Patna
CBI,Muzaffarpur shelter home case,Manju Verma
Police personnel outside former social welfare minister Manju Verma's residence during a CBI raid in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case, in Patna.(PTI)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday raided more than 10 premises, including official and personal residences of Bihar’s former social welfare minister Manju Verma, in four districts of Bihar in connection with the rapes of minor girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur district.

According to the police, as many as 34 of the 44 girls, some as young as six years old, at the Bihar government-funded shelter home were sexually abused.

CBI teams raided properties in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Motihari districts.

Probe agency officials, familiar with the development, said the raids were conducted at the residences of Verma, who was forced to resign after allegations surfaced of links between her husband Chandeshwar Prasad Verma and Brajesh Thakur, the man whose NGO ran the shelter home and who is one of the accused in the rape cases.

The CBI officials said on condition of anonymity that their teams also interrogated Verma and her husband in separate rooms at her official residence in the state capital.

The CBI teams later detained Verma’s personal assistant Amresh and his wife Punam, a child development programme officer, to question them.

Manju Verma, a Janata Dal (United) MLA from Cheria-Bariarpur in Begusarai district, was forced to resign on August 8, after it was disclosed that Thakur had spoken to her husband 17 times between January and June this year.

Thakur had told journalists from a prison van in the Muzaffarpur court compound that he used to speak to the minister’s husband on “political issues”.

CBI officials said the searches were spread across three residences of Verma — one in Patna and two in Begusarai, including her in-laws’ house.

The residence of another accused Ravi Raushan, who was posted as district child protection officer in Muzaffarpur, was also raided in Motihari in East Champaran district. Raushan is currently lodged in Muzaffarpur Central Jail.

During investigation, Raushan’s wife had taken the name of Verma’s husband, alleging that he was a frequent visitor to the Muzaffarpur short-stay home.

Another team raided the office of the Pratah-Kamal, a vernacular daily in the state capital linked to Thakur.Three packets of condoms, porn CDs and magazines were seized from the premises, said CBI officials.

In addition to the three locations, search operations were also underway at seven places belonging to Thakur’s relatives besides his ancestral house and a hotel in Muzaffarpur.The probe agency also interrogated Thakur’s in-laws.

Official sources said the CBI teams have recovered several evidences related to the case.

The teams also raided the residential premises of Sunil Kumar Jha in Pataliputra Colony in the state capital. Jha is a counsellor in the social welfare department.

The matter had come to light earlier this year when the state’s social welfare department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the home by Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

After the report came out, Opposition parties in the state demanded a CBI probe into the case and its monitoring by the high court. Under pressure, the government conceded both the demands and requested the HC to monitor the probe and ensure a speedy trial of the accused by appointing a special judge.

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 17:04 IST