Former Bihar minister Manju Verma, who was absconding in the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case, surrendered in a court in Begusarai on Tuesday, ANI reported. The Janata Dal (United) had suspended Verma on November 15. She has been booked in a case related to the recovery of ammunition from her in-laws’ house during a search conducted in connection with the rape case.
According to PTI, the former minister arrived in an autorickshaw and fainted on reaching the premises of the court. Bystanders revived her and she was then taken into the courtroom of Chief Judicial Magistrate Prabhat Trivedi.
The Bihar Police had searched several locations in the state and in Jharkhand in order to arrest Verma, days after they were pulled up by the Supreme Court. The court had expressed shock that the police had been unable to trace the former social welfare minister and summoned Bihar’s director general of police on November 27.
On October 31, a sub-divisional court in Manjhaul had issued a non-bailable warrant against Verma, a two-time MLA from Cheria Bariarpur constituency in Begusarai district.
Verma resigned in August in wake of the allegations that her husband Chandrashekhar Verma had links with Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the shelter home case in which 34 minor inmates of the facility were allegedly raped. On October 29, Chandrashekhar Verma surrendered in a Begusarai court.
Meanwhile, another absconding accused, Madhu, also surrendered in a local court in Muzaffarpur on Tuesday. She had been named in an audit report prepared by Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She met Central Bureau of Investigation officials and said she was not aware of what happened at the shelter home.
“I have nothing to fear as I was not even associated with the shelter home which is under scanner,” Madhu told reporters, according to PTI. “I did work for Thakur but I have no knowledge of what happened there.”
The alleged sexual exploitation of children at the shelter run by Thakur came to light in April after TISS submitted the 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.