The Central Bureau of Investigation unearthed a human skeleton at a burial ground in the Sikandarpur area of Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district after it started excavating the site on Wednesday as part of its investigation into the alleged rape of at least 34 girls at a shelter home in the district, reported NDTV.

The driver of prime accused Brajesh Thakur led a team of the investigative agency and the Forensic Science Laboratory to the burial ground. Samples have been sent for forensic testing to verify if the deceased was a minor girl from the shelter.

“The bones have been sent for DNA sampling,” an unidentified official said on Wednesday. “Only after the DNA report we will be able to confirm if the deceased was the same girl who was allegedly killed at the short-stay home.”

Unidentified officials told PTI that some inmates of the government-funded shelter have alleged that a few girls at the home were killed and buried after being raped.

The case

The alleged sexual exploitation of children at the shelter came to light after Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences submitted an audit report of 110 shelter homes in Bihar in April. The audit was ordered by the state government, which filed a first information report against 11 people, including Thakur, on May 31. A medical report has confirmed the sexual assault of 34 inmates.

In September, the Supreme Court reversed a gag order imposed by the Patna High Court that restrained media houses from reporting on the investigation. The top court urged publications to refrain from sensationalising the case.