Accused in Muzaffarpur shelter rape case points finger at Nitish
A special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) court in Muzaffarpur on Saturday forwarded to the CBI a petition by an accused, who has alleged the involvement of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and two IAS officers in the Muzaffarpur Balika Grih (short stay home for girls) case, and demanded an inquiry against them.
The accused, Ashwini Kumar, who is under arrest in the Balika Grih case, has named social welfare department principal secretary Atul Prasad and the then Muzaffarpur district magistrate, Dharmendra Singh, in the petition.
On behalf of Ashwini, his lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha has filed the petition in the court of special Pocso judge-cum-additional district judge XI, Manoj Kumar. The petitioner has urged the court to initiate a probe against Nitish and the two officers.
“The honourable court has asked its office to forward the petition to the CBI SP in Patna. It’s a serious development in the case because the CBI SP will have to look into it and report back to the court. It cannot ignore the petition or sit on it, or even dump it,” Ojha said.
Advocate Sharad Sinha, however, said it was routine stuff for courts to forward applications to probe agencies.
“We have prayed before the court that the CBI was not investigating the case properly. In gross violation of the judicial process, the CBI did not record the statement of Ashwini before a magistrate as prescribed under Section 164 of the Indian Penal Code,” Ojha said.
Ashwini, a self-styled doctor, is facing charges of administering sedatives to victims of the infamous short stay home for girls that was run by prime accused Brajesh Thakur and his family members under the guise of an NGO.
At least 34 minor girls were raped and tortured over a period of time at the short stay home and some of them had to undergo abortion.
The scandal came to light after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) published its social audit report on shelter homes last year. After the report became public, an FIR was lodged in May last year.
“The CBI took Ashwini on remand for altogether 14 days on various occasions and interrogated him. The statements and evidences given by him against chief minister Nitish Kumar and IAS officers Atul Prasad and Dharmendra Singh were never presented in the court,” Ojha said.
“There are photographs of the chief minister with Brajesh Thakur and their closeness needs to be probed. We have submitted 500 pages of documents along with our petition. We cannot reveal them right now, but they contain enough evidence to nail all those against whom we are seeking CBI inquiry,” Ojha said.
The Supreme Court is monitoring the high-profile Muzaffarpur Balika Grih case and had transferred it from Muzaffarpur Pocso court to Saket Pocso court in Delhi. The hearing in the case is expected to commence next week.
With Lok Sabha polls to be held in a short while, Opposition parties might find potential ammunition in Ashwini’s petition to attack Nitish and his allies.