No evidence of murder of girl at Bihar shelter home

 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) along with the officers of Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) investigate the shelter home, where 34 minor girls were allegedly raped, in Muzaffarpur. (PTI photo)

The CBI on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that there was no evidence to suggest murder of children in Bihar's Muzaffarpur shelter home, which had earned the nation-wide ignominy and outrage for sexual exploitation of young girls.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the probe agency, submitted before a bench presided over by Chief Justice S A Bobde that two skeletons were recovered from 'Balika Griha' but those were found to be of a woman and a man in forensic investigation.

The bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, however, allowed advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for journalist Nivedita Jha, to respond to a plea by the CBI to disband the investigation team as he strongly objected it.

The court, meanwhile, accepted the status report of the CBI and allowed two officers to be relieved from the investigation team as an interim measure.

Venugopal, for his part, said all the 35 girls, alleged to be murdered, were found to be alive.

He said the CBI investigated cases of 17 shelter homes in Bihar and charge sheets have been filed in 13 of them, while in four cases the preliminary inquiry was conducted and later closed as no evidence of any wrongdoing was found.

In its status report, the CBI said the Bihar government has been asked to take departmental action and cancel registration and blacklisting of NGOs concerned on the basis of its investigation report.

The CBI has taken over the investigation in the case on July 28, 2018, after the issue of sexual exploitation of young girls came to light on an audit report by TISS, causing widespread outrage across the country and a huge embarrassment to the Nitish Kumar government. The case was subsequently transferred for trial in a Delhi court.

The court had on June 3, 2019, granted six-month time to the CBI to complete its ongoing investigation into alleged murders of 11 girls. The court had also enlarged the scope of the CBI probe into alleged sexual abuse of inmates in 16 other shelter homes in Bihar the basis of the TISS report.

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