The Supreme Court on Monday summoned Bihar’s director general of police on November 27 to explain why the police have failed to arrest former state minister Manju Verma in a case related to the recovery of ammunition from her in-laws’ house, ANI reported. The ammunition was found during a search conducted in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes.

Justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta expressed shock that the state police had been unable to trace the former social welfare minister. “Fantastic! Cabinet minister is not traceable, fantastic,” said Lokur. “How could it happen that ex-cabinet minister is absconding and nobody knows where she is? You realise the seriousness of the issue that the cabinet minister is not traceable? This is too much.”

The state government on October 31 told the Supreme Court that the police had failed to trace Verma. The same day, a sub-divisional court in Manjhaul issued a non-bailable warrant against her for her alleged role in a case filed under the Arms Act. Her husband Chandrashekhar Verma has also been booked.

On November 6, Verma’s lawyer moved a local court in Bihar against a police petition to declare her a “proclaimed offender” in the case, claiming she was not evading arrest but attempting to get relief through legal methods instead.

Verma resigned in August after allegations of her husband’s links with Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the shelter home rape case. On October 29, Verma surrendered in a Begusarai court.

The alleged sexual exploitation of children at the shelter run by Thakur came to light in April after Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences submitted an audit report of 110 shelter homes in the state. 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 Muzaffarpur home.

The Supreme Court on Monday also summoned the chief secretary and asked him to explain “why action was not taken against 14 other shelter homes against which cases of torture and sexual abuse of girls were reported by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences”, NDTV reported.