Muzaffarpur rape case: CBI begins investigation

Muzaffarpur rape case: CBI begins investigation

The shelter home ‘Balika Grih’ in Muzaffarpur, where 34 girls out of 44 inmates, were sexually abused. Photo by Abhay Kumar

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday formally took over the probe into the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case in which 34 girls, out of 44 inmates, were sexually abused.

The CBI registered a case after the notification was issued by the State Government as well as the Centre recommending a probe by the premier investigating agency into the sexual assault case.

Before a CBI team left for Muzaffarpur on Sunday, the investigating agency said it had “taken over the investigation of the FIR registered by the Muzaffarpur police on charges of criminal conspiracy, rape, the furtherance of the common intention and under relevant sections of the POCSO Act.”

Altogether ten persons, including the employees of an NGO - Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti – which looked after the ‘Balika Grih’ (girls’ shelter home) – have been arrested. The main accused Brajesh Thakur, who headed the NGO, has also been charged with mentally, physically and sexually exploiting the girls who were in the age group of seven and 18.

Thakur is languishing in jail while the 11th suspect Dilip Verma is absconding. Posters of Verma were put up in Muzaffarpur town after police declared him an offender.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on July 26 recommended CBI probe into the case hours before the Patna High Court was to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) into this matter. Nitish’s recommendation came two days after the Bihar DGP, KS Dwivedi, said that there was no need for a CBI probe as the State police were carrying the investigation in the right direction.

But the Opposition demanded that only a CBI probe, monitored by the Patna High Court, could unravel the truth and provide justice to the hapless girls, “as some big fish were also involved in the sordid affair.”

On Sunday, activists of Pappu Yadav-headed Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) protested outside the residence of Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma demanding her resignation. Her husband Chandeshwar Verma has also been charged with frequently visiting ‘Balika Grih’. Manju has stoutly denied the charge and said that she would hang her husband “if he was found guilty.”

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