Fugitive Manju Verma exposes Nitish’s ‘rule of law’

Manju, who was suspended from the JD (U) on Thursday for causing huge embarrassment to Nitish. (PTI File Photo)

“Fantastic. A former Cabinet minister is not traceable…”. This is precisely what the Supreme Court said while expressing its shock over the Bihar police’s failure to arrest the fugitive Manju Verma, who has been evading arrest for more than a month.

Despite admonished by the apex court, the Bihar cops have failed to arrest Manju, who quit as Bihar Social Welfare Minister in August this year after the CBI probe into Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case found her husband Chandrashekhar Verma was in constant touch with the main accused Brajesh Thakur.

In the last one week, the cops have raided six different hideouts of Manju in Bihar as well as neighbouring states, but the fugitive remained untraced. “We will treat Manju as any other criminal,” said Bihar DGP KS Dwivedi on Friday.

The DGP has been summoned by the Supreme Court on November 27 to explain why the cops have failed to arrest a politician despite apex court order.

Who is Manju Verma?

Manju, who was suspended from the JD (U) on Thursday for causing huge embarrassment to Nitish (who is never tired of boasting about his good governance and rule of law), is married to a former MLC Chandrashekhar Verma. Her father-in-law Sukhdeo Mahto was a CPI MLA from Cheria Bariarpur in Bihar’s Begusarai district.

Chandrashekhar, however, joined Janata Dal (United) in 2007. One year prior to joining the ruling party, Chandrashekhar fielded his wife Manju Verma in the panchayat poll in 2006.  However, Manju lost the election.

Later, using his clout, Chandrashekhar managed to get JD (U) ticket for Manju from Cheria Bariarpur Assembly constituency in 2010. This time she won. She again won from this constituency in 2015 and was made Social Welfare Minister.

Caste calculus

Manju was the only woman Cabinet Minister in Nitish regime. But more importantly, she was given a long rope ostensibly because she belonged to Kushwaha community, which has a sizeable presence after Yadavs in this caste-ridden State.

Moreover, with his rivalry with Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha an open secret, Nitish earlier was in no mood to antagonise Kushwahas, who are part of the Kurmi-Kushwaha (also considered as Luv-Kush, in local parlance) OBC group that backs the JD (U) strongman.

But once questions were raised about the credo of his “good governance” and the SC expressing its deep anguish and anger over cops’ failure to arrest a fugitive, Nitish decided to let law take its own course.

“Raids are on. We will arrest Manju Verma soon, although I cannot give you a time-frame when she will be apprehended,” said the Bihar DGP here on Friday. Manju has been booked under Arms Act after the cops recovered 50 live cartridges from her residence.

 


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Inmates claim murder, rapes in Bihar shelter homes


 

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