Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Tuesday claimed “nothing happened” at a shelter home in Deoria from where 24 girls were rescued following allegations of sexual abuse and trafficking last month, reported Times Now.

Adityanath said the Deoria superintendent of police had wrongly compared it to the Muzaffarpur shelter home case that emerged in July. He said an inquiry was ordered because the incident was being compared to the alleged sexual exploitation of children at the Muzaffarpur home. “Nothing like Muzaffarpur happened in Deoria,” Adityanath said.

The Allahabad High Court took suo motu cognizance of the case on August 8. The matter is still pending in the court. It has fixed September 26 as the next date for hearing.

“The [Allahabad] High Court is doing its inquiry,” the chief minister told Times Now in an interview. “The girl who ran away told [the authorities] that the girls would go out. The High Court is inquiring about the matter.”

The chief minister said two senior officers had conducted an inquiry but there was no outcome. The chief minister accused then Deoria Superintendent of Police Rohan P Kanay of mishandling the matter. “He conducted a midnight raid on August 5 without informing senior officers and brought the girls before the media while referring to the matter as Muzaffarpur – Part 2.” Kanay was later removed from his post.

Adityanath claimed that former District Magistrate Sujeet Kumar did not act on the government’s directive to shift the inmates to other shelter homes after authorities cancelled the recognition of the Deoria shelter home on charges of irregularities. He said the police were sending the girls to the shelter home on court orders.

Additional Director General of Police Anju Gupta, who was part of the two-member women team sent to Deoria and accompanied Additional Chief Secretary Renuka Kumar, said they have submitted a report to the government, reported The Indian Express. “The CM had later spoken about it before the media,” Gupta said. “I cannot say anything more as the matter is in high court and an SIT investigation is going on.”

The Uttar Pradesh Police had arrested manager of the shelter Girija Tripathi, her husband Mohan Tripathi and daughter Kanchanlata Tripathi on August 6 after the girls were rescued from the shelter. A chargesheet has not been filed in the case so far.

In Muzaffarpur, the alleged sexual exploitation of children at a 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. Initially, the police 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.