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Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case: Bihar Minister resigns

Manju Verma speaks to the media after resigning as Bihar Social Welfare Department Minister in Patna on August 8, 2018.   | Photo Credit: Ranjeet Kumar

Bihar Social Welfare Department Minister Manju Verma on Wednesday resigned from her post.

Ms. Verma was under constant attack by Opposition parties after her husband Chandeshwa Verma was accused for visiting the Muzaffarpur shelter home for girls frequently.

The reports in local media said that her husband had telephonic conversation with Brajesh Thakur, main accused in the shelter home sexual abuse of minor girls, 17 times this year.

Ms Verma had earlier denied that her husband had ever visited the shelter home alone and the charges are politically motivated.

Charges politically motivated: NGO manager

Earlier, the prime accused in the case, Brajesh Thakur on Wednesday said all charges made against him are “frivolous and politically motivated” as he was to join the Congress party to contest the election from Muzaffarpur seat.

The shelter home was managed by his NGO Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti.

“All charges made against me have no basis. No girl has accused me in their confessional report, and I’m being falsely implicated in the case as I was to join the Congress party soon and to contest elections from Muzaffarpur seat”, Thakur told local journalists in Muzaffarpur while being taken to the district court along with the other nine accused persons.

When Thakur was led out of the court, people believed to be part of the Jan Adhikar Party (JAP), blackened his face with paint. Independent MP from Madhepura, Pappu Yadav, is the chief of JAP.

However, JAP workers denied that they were responsible for blackening his face but two women, who were taken into police custody, told local journalists that they are associated with JAP.

Thakur. who was managing the NGO to run the shelter home located adjacent to his residence at Sahu road in Muzaffarpur, was arrested on June 2 in connection with the “physical and sexual abuse” of as many as 34 minor girls living there. The exploitation was pointed by a social audit report of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted to the State social welfare department.

On the basis of that report, the assistant director of the social welfare department, Divesh Kumar, who recently was suspended for delaying action, had filed an FIR on May 31.

Following that FIR, the district police arrested 10 persons, including the main accused Thakur, and sent them to jail. The police have also filed a charge sheet in the case.

Later, the State government recommended the case to the CBI and the investigating agency took over the case on July 29.

When Thakur was asked what relation he had with the social welfare department minister Ms. Manju Verma and her husband Chandehswar Verma, he said, “he knows and spoke to them in relation with the work and politics only...nothing more”.

Reports in local newspapers said that Mr. Verma had travelled to Muzaffarpur nine times. Earlier, Ms. Verma had said that her husband was at the shelter home in Muzaffarpur only once along with her.

Shibha Kumari, wife of one of the accused persons in the case, and social welfare department official Rajiv Kumar Roushan, had earlier accused Mr. Verma for visiting the shelter home “frequently”, which the minister Ms. Verma had denied vehemently saying it was all “politically motivated”.

Meanwhile, senior State Congress leader and party MLC Prem Chandra Mishra told The Hindu, “there was no substance in Brajesh Thakur’s claim that he was to join the Congress party. It's laughable…it seems he has been tutored to say this as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and BJP leaders are under intense pressure by the Supreme Court on the issue”.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 10:41:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/muzaffarpur-shelter-home-rape-case-all-charges-against-me-are-frivolous-politically-motivated-says-ngo-manager/article24631918.ece

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