A special court in Bihar hearing the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case on Saturday sent a petition seeking an investigation against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and two senior bureaucrats to the Central Bureau of Investigation, asking the agency to “look into it”, The Hindu reported on Saturday.
The petition was filed by advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha on behalf of Ashwani Kumar – who allegedly used to inject the girls at the shelter home with sedatives before they were raped. Kumar alleged that the CBI was “suppressing facts” and called for an investigation into former Muzaffarpur District Magistrate Dharmendra Singh, Social Welfare Department Principal Secretary Atul Kumar Singh, and the chief minister.
The court that deals with offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act reportedly directed that the petition be sent to the CBI’s superintendent of police in Patna to look into it.
The Janata Dal (United) has denied reports that said the court has ordered a CBI inquiry against the chief minister and other officials. “No such order has been passed by the special court. It does not even have the power to issue any such direction to the CBI,” Janata Dal (United) spokesperson Sanjay Singh said.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had transferred the trial to a POCSO court in New Delhi’s Saket and ordered it to complete it within six months. The court had also criticised the Bihar government’s management of shelter homes. On Tuesday, the court held M Nageswara Rao, former interim director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, and another senior CBI official guilty of contempt for the transfer of an agency officer investigating the case.
The alleged sexual exploitation of children at the shelter came to light in April 2018 after Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences submitted an audit report of 110 shelter homes in Bihar. The audit had been ordered by the state government, which filed a first information report against 11 people on May 31.
At least 34 inmates were allegedly drugged and raped, according to law enforcement agencies. The Central Bureau of Investigation – in it chargesheet filed in December – alleged that the main accused, Brajesh Thakur, had coerced girls to dance to vulgar songs and have sexual intercourse with guests. Thakur is currently lodged in a high-security prison in Punjab.
Corrections and clarifications: The article has been edited to reflect that the Bihar special court did not order the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other officials.