PATNA: Nearly 10 days after the Supreme Court transferred the trial in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case related to the alleged sexual abuse of 34 minor girls from Bihar to Delhi, a special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Muzaffarpur has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a probe against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and two senior IAS officers, officials on Saturday said
The special court of judge Manoj Kumar has ordered the CBI SP, Patna, to probe against three including Nitish Kumar while hearing a petition filed by Dr Ashwani, an accused in the shelter home rape case, on Friday.
According to the court order, a probe has been ordered against Muzaffarpur district magistrate Dharmendra Singh and principal secretary of social welfare, Atul Prasad.
The court’s order is being seen in political circles as a major political setback for Nitish Kumar ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The court’s order has given more ammunition to the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) to target Nitish Kumar. RJD and RLSP have demanded Kumar’s resignation.
Recall that RJD and other opposition parties had repeatedly alleged the involvement of Nitish Kumar in shelter home rape case.
The alleged sexual abuse case
The alleged sexual abuse of 34 minor girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home run by an NGO run by key accused in the case, Brajesh Thakur, came to light in May 2018 after a social audit report prepared by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) went public, after which the Bihar Social Welfare Department filed an FIR.
Dr Ashwani, who was arrested by the police in November 2918 in connection with the case, had filed a petition in the court demanding investigation against the three, including the Bihar Chief Minister. “In his petition, Dr Ashwani has complained that CBI has been trying to suppress or hide the facts in the case in which role of the two IAS officers and Nitish Kumar should be investigated” Ashwani’s lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha, who had filed the petition in the court on his behalf, told Newsclick over phone from Muzaffarpur.
Ojha said the court had also ordered that a statement of Dr Ashwani be recorded in the court under Section 164. ”I have filed an additional petition in the court in connection with my earlier petition “he said.
CBI in its charge-sheet said Ashwani used to visit the shelter home to allegedly administer sedative-laced injections to the inmates before they were subjected to sexual abuse.
The matter was handed over to the CBI in July last year. After hue and cry by the Opposition and media reports that her husband had close links with main accused Brajesh Thakur, Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma was forced to resign .
Thakur has since been shifted to a jail in Patiala following the order of the Supreme Court even as the other accused, including his close aides and some government officials, are lodged in jails in Patna and Muzaffarpur.
The apex court had recently also directed the CBI to take over the probe into allegations of sexual abuse at all such shelter homes across the state.