Bihar Min quits in shelter home case

Patna/New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS): | Publish Date: 8/9/2018 4:47:08 AM IST

 Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma on Wednesday resigned over the rape of young girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur but strongly defended her husband despite his alleged friendship with a key accused.

“My husband was innocent yesterday, he is innocent today and will be proved innocent tomorrow,” an unfazed Verma told the media.

“But I resigned on moral grounds after media reports of call details revealed that my husband had spoken to Brajesh Thakur 17 times,” she said.

She quit after being asked to by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, according to an official in the Chief Minister’s Office.

“Manju Verma visited the Chief Minister’s residence and met Nitish Kumar for over 30 minutes. After that she resigned,” said the official.

Manju Verma expressed her anger over repeated demands for her resignation by the opposition and the media and insisted that her husband Chandrasekhar alias Chandeshwar Verma was innocent.

The Patna High Court is monitoring the CBI probe into the shocking rape of 34 minor girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home, a horror that has caused nationwide outrage.

Although Chief Minister Nitish Kumar earlier defended Manju Verma, he promised at the same time that no one would be spared if found guilty.

“I demand through you (media) to the High Court to bring out CDR (call details record) of Brajesh Thakur and make it clear whether my husband was the only one who was talking to him or there were other people too.”

She said action should be taken against all those whose names figure in the CDR.

According to reports, the Minister’s husband and Brajesh Thakur, a journalist, spoke over the phone 17 times between January and May this year.

The CBI is reportedly looking into the CDR of Brajesh Thakur’s three mobile numbers he was using before being arrested in the case.

Brajesh Thakur has admitted that he used to talk to Chandeshwar Verma on telephone regularly.

Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress leaders have alleged that Manju Verma’s husband used to visit regularly the shelter home of Brajesh Thakur where the rapes took place. 

Centre warns unregistered homes

Women and Child Development Ministry has directed child care institutes (CCIs) and shelter homes across the country to register themselves with the government within two months and get a social audit done, ministry sources said.

“The institutes not registered within two months will be shut down and the girls living there will be shifted to a better and registered centre. The ministry has already started closing unregistered centres,” an official of the Ministry told IANS.

The government move comes in the wake of alleged rape of inmates of a girls’ home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur and another in Deoria, Uttar Pradesh.   The Ministy also said it has issued notice for a social audit of over 9,000 CCIs across the country within 60 days. 

The social audit will be conducted by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

“The new pro forma of the audit will have total assessment of the condition in which the children are living. It will not be a mere counting of basic facilities,” the official added.

Last week, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had asked for setting up Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) at the state and district levels for regular monitoring of the Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and CCIs.

The minister had also said the district magistrates and district collectors should take responsibility of monitoring the adoption programmes which are implemented at the district level. She also directed the officials to streamline the adoption process and ensure its completion within the stipulated time.


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