CBI swoop in abuse case

The CBI on Friday carried out simultaneous searches on 12 locations, including the official residence of former social welfare minister Kumari Manju Verma, in connection with the Muzaffarpur sexual abuse case.

By Ramashankar in Patna
  • Published 18.08.18
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The CBI team at Manju Verma’s house on Friday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Patna: The CBI on Friday carried out simultaneous searches on 12 locations, including the official residence of former social welfare minister Kumari Manju Verma, in connection with the Muzaffarpur sexual abuse case.

Agency sleuths quizzed Manju and her husband Chandeshwar Prasad Verma for over eight hours at their 6 Strand Road residence in the state capital. The former minister's personal assistant was also questioned at an undisclosed location. The couple's house in Begusarai's Cheria Bariyarpur too was searched.

Chandeshwar Verma's name figured in the scandal after Shibha Kumari, the wife of arrested child protection officer Ravi Kumar Raushan, accused him of frequently visiting Balika Grih, the shelter home in Muzaffarpur where at least 34 minor girls were found to have been raped and sexually abused. Later, call detail records of his mobile phone revealed that he was in constant touch with Brajesh Thakur, the jailed owner of the NGO that ran the home.

This is the first major operation carried out by the CBI since it took over the investigation on July 29. The raids, which began around 7am in Patna, Begusarai and Muzaffarpur, concluded around 4pm, and, according to sources, yielded passbooks of different banks, incriminating documents and objectionable articles.

Authoritative sources said the CBI officials found packets of condoms, compact discs of pornographic movies, intoxicants and other incriminating documents from the office premises of Pratah Kamal - a Hindi daily owned by Thakur - located on Buddh Marg in front of Patna Museum.

Identity cards and entry passes to the Assembly and Legislative Council besides passes of the Press Club in the name of different journalists were also seized.

Another team raided the rented house of Sunil Kumar Jha, a counsellor of the social welfare department, in Patna's Gosaitola. Jha is stated to be close to Sunil Kumar, who retired as director in the department in May this year.

The investigating officials also conducted raids on the Sahu Road (Muzaffarpur) residence of prime accused Brajesh and his two brothers-in-law - Ritesh Anupam and Manoj Kumar - at Sikandarpur and Brahmapura localities of the north Bihar town. The house of Ramesh Thakur, a close relative of Brajesh, was also searched as he (Ramesh) was the secretary of the NGO - Seva Sansthan Evam Vikas Samiti - that ran Balika Grih.

The CBI also searched the residence of the absconding Madhu Kumari and her associate Suman Sahi at Purani Bazar and Khabra in Muzaffarpur respectively.

Madhu is said to be the director of Waha Shakti Vahini, which ran a shelter home for adult destitute women called Swadhar Grih. The ancestral house of Suman, who is considered close to Brajesh and Madhu, at Baruraj was also raided. Another team conducted raids at Brajesh's native village Pachdahi under Sakra block in Muzaffarpur district.

Sources said that several files were seized from Madhu's Purani Bazar office-cum-residence. Madhu, who was associated with Brajesh's Urdu newspaper published from Samastipur, has gone into hiding ever since the CBI took over the investigation.