The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the transfer of Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in Muzaffarpur shelter home case, to a high-security jail in Punjab’s Patiala. Coming down heavily on the state’s BJP-JDU government, the apex court also angrily asked why the former minister Manju Verma had not been arrested yet.
A bench of Justice MB Lokur, SA Nazeer and Deepak Gupta was quoted by ANI,”Just because she (Bihar minister Manju Verma) happens to be cabinet minister doesn’t make her above the law. The whole thing is highly suspicious. Why has she not been arrested? It’s too much. Nobody is bothered about the law.”
The case relates to the report of rampant sexual exploitation of girls at the shelter home, run by Thakur, a journalist-turned-fixer. The case had first come to light after an audit report by Tata Institute of Social Sciences had expressed deep concerns over the sexual exploitation and torture of the girls staying in the shelter home.
Justice Lokur on Tuesday termed the development ‘very, very sad.’ He added, “This is scary….terrible….what is the state doing? This cannot be allowed to happen….what kind of a person is this man?”
Lawyer Ranjit Kumar, who was representing the Bihar government, sought to convince the bench that jails in Bhagalpur and Hazaribag were very safe. However, when the bench insisted that Thakur be transferred to Patiala, Kumar bowed down stating that he was merely informing the bench and not necessarily opposing its order.
In another chilling revelation, the Amicus Curiae Aparna Bhat told the top court that, according to the NIMHANS report, the children in the shelter home would be administered drugs in the name of deworming medicine which would make them mature early than their age.
This chimed well with the the statements given by one of the inmates staying at the Muzaffarpur shelter home. Soon after the horror stories came to light, one girl had reportedly said, “Sedatives were mixed in my food due to which I used to feel dizzy. I was asked by the aunties to sleep in Brajesh sir’s room and they used to talk about some visitor coming there. I used to find my pant thrown on the floor when I got up in the morning.”
Manju Verma’s husband, known as netaji, would often visit the shelter home to sexually exploit the girls there. Verma had to resign from her post in August this year but only after weeks of protests and criticism from the opposition and media. Ironically, she held the Social Welfare Ministry’s portfolio when helpless girls were being tortured and raped included by her husband at the shelter home.