The Bihar Police has registered a First Information Report against former social welfare minister of the state, Manju Verma, and her husband after 50 cartridges were found in her in-law’s house during a raid, PTI reported on Sunday. The FIR was registered on Saturday following the raid that was conducted in connection with the alleged rapes in a shelter home in Muzaffarpur district, Station House Officer Ranjit Kumar Rajak said.
Verma had stepped down from her post on August 8 after allegations surfaced about her husband Chandeshwar Verma’s links to Brajesh Thakur, who used to run the shelter. She accused the media and the Opposition of creating a furore and demanded that Thakur’s call records be made public. The wife of an accused in the case claimed that Chandeshwar Verma was a regular visitor to the shelter home.
On August 17, the Central Bureau of Investigation searched several premises including Verma’s house in Patna, her in-law’s place in Begusarai and houses connected to Thakur, his friends and relatives. Thakur has denied links with the minister and claimed that he has been framed in the case for planning to join the Congress. He has, however, admitted that he used to speak to her husband Chandeshwar Verma about “political issues”.
Meanwhile, Opposition party Rashtriya Janata Dal demanded the resignation of state Urban Development Minister Suresh Sharma and alleged that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was wary of sacking the BJP minister. The Opposition party demanded a Supreme Court-monitored investigation and described Verma as “small fry” in the case.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav said his party will force Kumar to sack Sharma. “Why is Nitish Kumar afraid of seeking the resignation of Suresh Sharma,” Yadav said. “Is it because the minister belongs to the BJP, which is in power at the Centre?”
The sexual exploitation of children in the 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. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has promised to take action against those found guilty in the case.