A Delhi court on Wednesday set March 18 as the date for the framing of charges in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case, PTI reported. Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha passed the order.
There are 21 people who are chargesheeted in the case. Five of the accused have denied the charges against them and have claimed that there is not enough evidence to prosecute them.
The Supreme Court, on February 7, had transferred the trial to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences court in Delhi’s Saket and ordered it to complete the trial within six months. The court had also criticised the Bihar government’s management of shelter homes.
On February 12, the top court held M Nageswara Rao, former interim director of the CBI, and another senior CBI official guilty of contempt for the transfer of an agency officer investigating the case.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said it has attached assets under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act worth Rs 7.30 crore of the prime accused in the case Brajesh Thakur, PTI reported. “Immovable and movable properties consisting of 26 plots of land, three vehicles, bank balance in 37 accounts and investments in mutual funds and insurance policies, totalling to Rs 7.30 crore, have been attached,” the Enforcement Directorate said in a statement. “These assets belong to accused Brajesh Thakur and his family.”
The investigating agency alleged that the NGO, owned by Thakur, had not utilised the funds received from the government and other places for the welfare of the children.
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 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.