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Muzaffarpur shelter home case: A year on, missing girls’ identity remains a challenge for CBI

The biggest challenge for the CBI is to identify the 11 girls it suspects to have been murdered by the main accused Brajesh Thakur and his accomplices and how and why they were killed.

patna Updated: Jun 04, 2019 13:57 IST
Avinash Kumar
Avinash Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
muzaffarpur shelter home case,bihar shelter home case,CBI
The Muzaffarpur shelter home case came into spotlight following a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences that 44 minor girls staying there had been subjected to sexual assault for a long time. (HTFile Photo)

A year has elapsed since the first FIR was lodged by Bihar police in the sensational case involving sexual abuse of girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home following a nationwide uproar, but the identification of the 11 girls who were suspected to have been killed as claimed by the investigating agency in its report to the Supreme Court, still remains to be done.

The CBI had taken up the case on the recommendation of the Bihar government on July 26, 2018, amid speculation that many prominent people might be involved in the case. Three days later, it lodged its FIR with the special crime branch (CBI) in Patna.

So far, it has arrested 20 persons and filed chargesheet against 21 persons, all associated with the arrested kingpin Brajesh Thakur’s NGO Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti and the social welfare department under which the shelter home ran. However, none of those suspected to be beneficiaries of the alleged flesh trade have come under its scanner.

The shelter home case came into spotlight following a report by Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) that 44 minor girls staying there had been subjected to sexual assault for a long time. TISS had carried out social audit of 110 shelter homes in Bihar.

The report was submitted in April 2018 and on May 31, the social welfare department ordered FIR against 11 persons, including Brajesh Thakur. Thakur, along with seven others, was later arrested. All the arrested accused are presently lodged in Tihar jail in Delhi.

The apex court, which is monitoring the case, on Monday directed the CBI to complete the investigation within three months.

The agency wanted six-month extension, as the earlier deadline of June 3 was to end. The court has asked the CBI to probe the role of outsiders in the wake of reports that the girls were drugged, subjected to sexual exploitation and raped.

In order to ensure safety of witnesses and victims due to the influence of Thakur, the apex court had in February ordered transfer of the case to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Saket district court complex in Delhi.

It also made a stinging remark against the Bihar government for the manner in which shelter homes were run in the state.

The biggest challenge for the CBI is to identify the 11 girls it suspects to have been murdered by Thakur and his accomplices and how and why they were killed. The CBI team referred to recovery of bones from a burial ground in Muzaffarpur in its report.

Besides, the CBI also has to be probe why and how the inspection committees, comprising representatives from different walks of life, could not get a wind of the goings on in the shelter home, which ran in a house that did not fulfil the required parameters by any stretch of imagination. The victim girls narrated their ordeal later on.

First Published: Jun 04, 2019 13:57 IST