CBI files charge sheet in Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal

Updated: Dec 20, 2018, 11:20 IST | PTI |

The agency filed its charge sheet against Thakur, his employees, his associate Shaista Parveen and a government officer Rekha Rani before a special court

Representational Pic
Representational Pic

The CBI Wednesday filed a voluminous chargesheet in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case in which over 30 inmates were allegedly sexually abused. Brajesh Thakur, owner of the NGO which ran the home, and around 20 people were named as accused.

The agency filed its charge sheet against Thakur, his employees, his associate Shaista Parveen and a government officer Rekha Rani before a special court. Special POCSO judge R P Tiwari directed the probe agency to prepare a summary of the charge sheet, which ran into several hundred pages, in order to facilitate further hearing. In its charge sheet, the CBI confirmed that the girls were subjected to sexual abuse and slapped the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act against the accused.

It also dealt with alleged violation of rules, aiding and abetting the heinous crimes against the girls, criminal conspiracy and other charges, sources in the investigative agency said. More serious offences like murder, rape, involvement of people, who were part of exploitation racket, will be chronicled in a future charge sheet, the sources added.

They said identification of the perpetrators, alleged customers and others, is a time-consuming process as the victims, who are in shock and trauma, are not being examined by the CBI, but experts from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS). It is important that they are interviewed and counselled by experts because of the sensitive nature of the case, their age, and trauma that they bore for years, the sources said.

Filing of this charge sheet will ensure that the arrested persons may be kept behind bars by the courts as they will not be able to exploit of the chance of seeking bail for the want of charge sheet even after 90 days of their arrest, they said. The agency has alleged that the then assistant director of the state social welfare department Rekha Rani had known about the abuse at the NGO-run shelter home of Thakur, but she turned a Nelson's eye towards it, the sources said.

Parveen's house was allegedly used by Thakur's aides for abusing the girls, they said. The development comes a week after the CBI told the Supreme Court, which is monitoring the investigation, that its charge sheet in the case was ready but the agency was "discussing whether to file a consolidated final report or have a separate one on each victim". The scandal at the shelter home called 'Balika Grih', run by Brajesh Thakur's NGO 'Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti', came to light earlier this year in a social audit by the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences. During initial investigation by police, all the inmates were made to undergo medical tests which confirmed that about 30 of them, all minor girls, had sexual intercourse.

The investigation was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by the Nitish Kumar government on July 26. Besides Thakur, who is lodged in a jail in Patiala, other accused include his employees, many of them women, and some of his relatives. The building housing the shelter home was demolished after it was found that the structure was raised in violation of the approved plan.

Meanwhile, a notice was affixed on the premises of Thakur's residence, situated adjacent to the building which housed the shelter home, directing his wife Asha and son Rahul Anand to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office at Patna next week. A case of money laundering was lodged against Thakur a couple of months ago based on a report received by the ED regarding his assets from the economic offences unit of the Bihar police.

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