Former Bihar minister Manju Verma’s lawyer on Tuesday moved a court against a police petition to declare her a “proclaimed offender” in an Arms Act case, PTI reported. A sub-divisional court issued a non-bailable warrant against her on October 31, a day after the Supreme Court asked the police why Verma had not been arrested after the recovery of ammunition from her in-laws’ house.
Verma resigned in August as social welfare minister after allegations that her husband had links with Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case. Fifty cartridges were found in her in-laws’ house during a search conducted in connection with the rape case. The Bihar Police filed a First Information Report under the Arms Act against Verma and her husband after the cartridges were found in August.
Satya Narayan Mahto, the former minister’s lawyer, told Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Prabhat Trivedi that Manju Verma was not evading arrest, but attempting to get relief against arrest through legal methods instead. Mahto petitioned the court soon after the Bihar police filed its petition to declare her a “proclaimed offender” for evading arrest.
The “proclaimed offender” tag allows the police to paste a legal notice on the walls of the accused’s house asking her to surrender before the court within a specified frame of time. If the accused fails to do so, the property can be confiscated and auctioned.
Mahto said that he had moved the Supreme Court seeking bail for Verma after the Patna High Court had rejected her anticipatory bail petition.
Chandrashekhar Verma, the former minister’s husband who is also an accused in the Arms Act case, surrendered before a court in Begusarai on October 29.
The alleged sexual exploitation of children at the shelter run by Thakur 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 had been ordered by the state government, which filed a first information report against 11 people, including Thakur, on May 31. A medical report confirmed the sexual assault of 34 inmates at the Muzaffarnagar home.