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Muzaffarpur shelter home case: Delhi court sentences convicted NGO owner Brajesh Thakur, others to life imprisonment

The POCSO court had on January 20, 2020, convicted the former Bihar People’s Party (BPP) MLA Brajesh Thakur and 18 others for rape and exploitation of minor girls.

South Delhi’s Saket court sentenced NGO owner Brajesh Thakur, convicted in the Muzaffarpur sexual abuse case, to life imprisonment on Tuesday.

Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha sentenced Thakur to life imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life. Thakur was convicted of sexually and physically assaulting several minor girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar.

Thakur has also been fined Rs 20 lakhs, other accused named Ravi Roshan, Vikas Kumar and Guddu have also been sentenced to life imprisonment and a monetary fine. 6 others have been sentenced to life too.

The same POCSO court had on January 20, 2020, convicted the former Bihar People’s Party (BPP) MLA Brajesh Thakur and 18 others of several offences including aggravated penetrative sexual assault under section 6 of the POCSO Act, and offences of rape and gang rape under the Indian Penal code (IPC).

Other convicts in the case include Indu Kumari (Principal), Meenu Devi (house mother), Manju Devi (counsellor), Chanda Devi (house mother), Neha Kumari (nurse), Kiran Kumari (helper), Hema Masih (PO), Ravi Roshan (Child Protection Officer), Vikas Kumar (CWC), Roji Rani, Vijay Tiwari (Brijesh’ driver), Guddu Kumar (shelter home staff), Krishna Kumar (shelter home staff), Ramanuj Thakur (shelter home staff), Shajista Parveen (Brijesh’ associate), Ashwini Kumar (a doctor), Dilip Kumar (CWC chairman) and Ramashankar Singh.

Another accused Premila is still absconding. Shajista’s nephew Vikki alias Mohammad Sahil was acquitted for lack of evidence.

Brijesh Thakur was moved from Bihar’s Bhagalpur jail to Patiala high-security jail in Punjab following the Supreme court order on October 30, 2018. He was found violating jail norms in Bhagalpur.

The shocking incident of Muzaffarpur shelter home came to light in June 2018 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 many 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.

Over 42 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.

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 later revealed that ex-minister Manju Verma’s husband had links with accused Brajesh Thakur.

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