Muzaffarpur shelter home case: Ex-minister Manju Verma’s absconding husband surrenders in court

Verma was accused of being in regular touch with the main accused Brijesh Thakur and also of being a regular visitor to the shelter home where the girls were being abused.

Chandrashekhar Verma, the absconding husband of former Bihar social welfare minister Manju Verma who had stepped down following allegations against her husband having links with Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex abuse case, surrendered before a court here Monday.

Verma surrendered before the Manjhaul sub-divisional court in Begusarai district where Judicial Magistrate Yogesh Kumar Mishra remanded him in judicial custody till November 6.

Accused of having links with main accused Brajesh Thakur, Verma also faces a case under the Arms Act in connection with the recovery of a huge cache of ammunition from his residence in Begusarai district during a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raid.

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A case was registered against Verma a few weeks after his wife’s resignation and he was declared an absconder with notices for surrender pasted on his house by the police.

Over thirty girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused at a shelter home named Balika Grih in Muzaffarpur, run by Brajesh Thakur, the chief of a state-funded NGO called Seva Sankalp Evam Vikash Samiti. It is worth mentioning here that Brajesh Kumar had, amidst the ongoing Muzaffarpur shelter home controversy, stricken a row after he disclosed that he was set to contest elections from the Muzaffarpur constituency as a Congress candidate.

The shocking incident of Muzaffarpur shelter home came to light in June this year when the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted a report, based on conversations with several girls at the home.

The shelter home was housing the girls between the ages of 7 to 17 and most of the girls were suffering from speech-impairment. It was reported that they were given sedatives in the dinner and raped during the night and the inmates were brutally beaten regularly by the shelter home staff, including women and compelled the girls to have sex with the visitors.

An FIR was lodged against 11 people, including Thakur, on May 31. The probe was later taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). It also revealed that Verma had allegedly spoken to Thakur several times between January and June this year.

The Supreme Court, while going through a status report of the CBI in the Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal last week, had expressed strong displeasure as no action was taken against Verma and had also maintained that Brijesh Thakur who was an influential person and was thereby obstructing the probe. It further directed the agency to shift him outside Bihar in order to execute a smooth probe.

Seventeen people, including Thakur, have been arrested so far in the case and the agency is on a lookout for five more.

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