The Bihar government on Thursday gave state Education Minister Krishnanandan Prasad Verma additional charge of the Social Welfare Department. The move came a day after Manju Verma resigned from the post following allegations that her husband had links with an accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case.
The former minister claimed to have resigned because the “media and the Opposition created a furore” over her husband’s alleged links with Brajesh Thakur. “I have full faith in the CBI and the judiciary,” Verma told ANI. “I am sure truth will be out and my husband will come out clean.” The minister urged investigator’s to check Thakur’s call records and make it public. “We will then see who all he used to talk to,” she added.
Reports had quoted officials saying that Thakur’s phone records showed he had spoken to Manju Verma’s husband 17 times from January to June this year.
On Wednesday, Thakur denied having links with the minister and claimed that he was being framed in the case. Thakur alleged that he was being targeted as was thinking about joining the Congress.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said Verma has denied her husband’s involvement in the case. “If someone related to the minister is involved, they will not be spared,” he added. The chief minister was responding to calls for Verma’s resignation – from the Opposition and a state Bharatiya Janata Party leader – after the wife of an accused claimed that the minister’s husband used to visit the shelter home.
The sexual exploitation of children in the Muzaffarpur shelter came to light after Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences submitted an audit report of 110 shelter homes in the state in April. The audit had been ordered by the state government, which filed a first information report on May 31.
The police initially said 16 girls had been sexually assaulted. Later, the figure was revised to 34 on the basis of a medical report released by the Patna Medical College and Hospital. Ten of the 11 accused have been arrested so far. On Sunday, the Bihar government suspended six officials of a state child protection unit for negligence.