An arrest warrant has been issued against former social welfare minister Kumari Manju Verma in connection with the Arms Act case lodged with the Cheria Bariyarpur police station in Begusarai district over which her husband and former MLC Chandeshwar Prasad Verma surrendered in a Begusarai court on Monday.
The Supreme Court had asked the Bihar government on Tuesday why Manju has not been arrested yet.
Begusarai superintendent of police (SP) Awakash Kumar on Wednesday told The Telegraph that the investigating officer of the case moved the local court seeking issuance of the arrest warrant against Manju. The court accepted the police’s plea and ordered the issuance of a non-bailable warrant against her. She has been made co-accused in the case, the SP revealed.
The move comes in the wake of review of the case by the SP, who prima facie found the allegations against Manju to be true. Around 50 live cartridges of different calibres, including a few of prohibited bore, were seized during search of the Vermas’ ancestral house at Sripur Ajun Tola village under the jurisdiction of the Cheria Bariyarpur police station on August 17 this year.
The raid had been carried out in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes case.
Though the couple didn’t live at Sripur Arjun Tola, the report of the circle officer concerned submitted to the police revealed that the house from where the cartridges were recovered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) belonged to Manju and Chandeshwar.
“In addition, the police have collected some evidences to substantiate the charges against the couple,” the SP said.
A special investigation team (SIT) headed by Manjhaul sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Suryadev Kumar is hunting for Manju, who has gone into hiding ever since she came to know about the warrant. The SIT carried out searches at her in-laws’ house and she was not found there, the SP said.
The house guard deployed at the couple’s ancestral residence and the former minister’s personal body guards were withdrawn earlier. “We have also informed our counterparts in Patna about the warrant pending against Manju,” the SP said, adding that Chandeshwar would be taken on two-day remand for further interrogation.
“The police had sought five-day remand of Chandeshwar but the court granted permission to take the accused on remand for two days only. The interrogation will start from tomorrow after taking him on formal remand,” said SDPO Suryadev.
Asked about the delay in obtaining a warrant against Manju, an ex-minister of the ruling JDU, the Begusarai SP said: “Certain things can’t be shared with the media. It is better to talk to senior cops on the issue.”
The ballistic examination had confirmed that the cartridges seized from the Vermas’ house were original ones, he added.
The CBI, which is probing the Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes case, had searched at least 10 locations of the accused — in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Begusarai, Bettiah and Samastipur districts — on August 17 this year. The searches yielded seizure of 50 cartridges and other documents.
Manju had resigned as minister after it was revealed that Chandeshwar was in contact with Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case.
The wife of arrested Muzaffarpur child protection officer Ravi Raushan had also alleged that Chandeshwar was a regular visitor to the shelter home run by Brajesh’s NGO when Manju was minister.