The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that “all is not well and it is very strange that the government doesn’t know where its former minister is”. The SC comments came during a hearing in the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case when the Bihar government informed the court that former social welfare minister Manju Verma has gone into hiding and could not be traced by the state police. Verma’s husband Chandrashekhar was the owner of the shelter home where several girls were allegedly raped.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had asked the Bihar police why Verma has not been arrested in a case related to the recovery of ammunition in the shelter home. The court also directed the CBI to file chargesheet on time so that no accused could be granted bail.
A bench of Justices M B Lokur, S A Nazeer and Deepak Gupta also directed that Brajesh Thakur, prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter homes sexual abuse case, be shifted to the Patiala high security jail in Punjab from Bihar’s Badarpur jail. The alleged sexual exploitation of the girls was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to the state’s social welfare department. Chandrashekhar had surrendered before a Begusrai court.
Manju Verma had resigned as Bihar state social welfare minister in August. Defending his wife, Verma said, “I am the owner of the house from where the CBI claimed to have found illegal bullets. Manju had nothing to do with it. She should have not been named in this case.”
A team of CBI, investigating the shelter home rape case, had raided the former minister’s house in Patna and Begusarai simultaneously on August 17 and recovered a huge cache of ammunition, following which her husband was booked under Arms Act after the couple failed to give a satisfactory reply.
Director General of Police KS Dwivedi claimed that Verma’s surrender was the result stern action against him with police planning to attach his properties on Monday. On the other hand, Verma claimed that he was being framed in the sexual abuse case “merely on the basis of an accused officer’s wife’s statement”
Shibha Kumar, wife of the accused child protection officer, Ravi Raushan, had alleged that Verma was a frequent visitor to Balika Griha in Muzaffarpur where 34 minor girls were raped overa period of time. It was run by NGO Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, which was owned by Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the case who is facing trial along with 17 others.