Shelter home case: SC seeks status report from CBI

Shelter home case: SC seeks status report from CBI

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 File Photo

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the CBI to file its status report over the investigation into the case of sexual exploitation of young girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home.

The top court ordered an inquiry into the receipt of Rs 4.5 crore aid to Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, the NGO-run by prime accused Brajesh Thakur, by the Bihar government during a period of 10 years.

“The Income Tax Department should look into the income and assets of Thakur and indeed of the NGO as it has purchased about 35 vehicles and its other assets were not clear,” a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.

The court also ordered the Bihar Police to look into the alleged recovery of “fairly large quantity” of illegal arms and ammunition from former Bihar minister Manju Verma and her husband Chandrashekhar, considered close to Thakur.

After hearing Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the CBI, and going through status reports, the bench said the investigation seemed to be on track at the moment.

The court, however, questioned the transfer of girls from the shelter home by the state government's social welfare department after the matter related to sexual exploitation of girls came to light.

“The transfer seems to suggest that the Bihar government was aware of certain unsavoury activities in the shelter home and that may have been the reason for the transfer of the victims. The CBI should seize the record in this regard and carry out the investigation,” the bench ordered and directed the state government to file an affidavit.

“It appears that the entire sequence of events concerning the shelter home is of an extremely serious nature and requires great an in-depth scrutiny,” the bench added.

The court directed the CBI to submit the report within four weeks. It also allowed a plea for permitting NIMHANS, Bengaluru, which is assisting the CBI in the issue of revelations of the victims, to complete the task by the first week of October.

The apex court vacated the Patna High Court order on a blanket ban on reporting but asked the media to remain “circumspect” as the issue involved minor girls. It issued a notice to the Press Council of India, the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, the Editors Guild and the Indian Broadcasting Federation, saying there is no mechanism for enforcement and implementation of the statutory provisions and guidelines, resulting in misreporting. It put the matter for further consideration on media guidelines to October 4.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox