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Judgment in Muzaffarpur shelter home case on January 20

A view of the shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. File

A view of the shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. File  

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Judgment in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case is now expected on January 20, as the accused persons on Tuesday claimed that statements of the witnesses were not reliable. The court has sought a response from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the issue within two days.

During the proceedings on Tuesday, lawyers of the main accused, Brajesh Thakur, and the others, questioned the veracity of the testimony of prosecution witnesses.

The submission was made in view of the CBI’s statement in the Supreme Court that 35 girl inmates earlier believed to have been murdered had been found to be alive. The murder allegations were made by some of the girls rescued from the shelter home.

Deferred pronouncement

This is the third time that the pronouncement of verdict has been deferred after it was reserved in October for mid-November last year. The first time it was postponed as the 20 accused could not be brought to the court premises due to a lawyers’ strike. It was then rescheduled as the judge was on leave.

The case pertains to the allegation that at least 34 girl inmates of a shelter home in Muzaffarpur were sexually assaulted. The CBI took over the probe in 2018, following a Supreme Court directive.

The agency recorded statements of the victims and also made several arrests, including that of the main accused. It is alleged that Mr. Thakur would bring in people for sexually assaulting the girl inmates. Some of them were also taken to hotels where they were raped.

In November 2018, the CBI had arrested Shaista Parveen, an alleged close accomplice of Mr. Thakur, on charges of facilitating sexual abuse.

The shelter home was being run by a non-government organisation named ‘Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti’. The instances of sexual assault were first made public through a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences report.

Legal proceedings in the case were transferred from a Muzaffarpur court to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in the Saket court complex in Delhi on the Supreme Court’s order.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 8:14:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/judgment-in-muzaffarpur-shelter-home-case-on-january-20/article30567572.ece

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