The Patna High Court today issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation, seeking details of its investigation into the case of sexual abuse of girls at a state-funded shelter home in Muzaffarpur city in Bihar. A bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad directed the CBI to submit the details and posted the matter for hearing after two weeks. The court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by three individuals - Santosh Kumar, Navneet Kumar and Saleem Madavoor - in connection with the shelter home case. Advocate General Lalit Kishore, who appeared for Bihar government, submitted that the high court should monitor the CBI investigation. He also sought the HC's direction for speedy trial of the people accused in the case.
Kishore told the court that the state government has taken departmental action against more than a dozen officials of the Social Welfare Department, who have been put under suspension for alleged negligence and dereliction of duty. The AG said the state police was investigating the matter in a right and earnest way but the Bihar government on its own recommended the Centre for a CBI investigation in the case. The central investigation agency has taken over the probe and is investigating the same, the AG told the court. The issue of sexual exploitation was first highlighted in a social audit report submitted by Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, to the state's Social Welfare Department in April.
An FIR was lodged on May 31 against 11 persons, including Brajesh Thakur, the owner of the NGO 'Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti' which ran the shelter home for destitute girls funded by the government. Ten out of the 11 accused, including Thakur, were arrested on June 3. Police submitted the chargesheet against the 10 accused on July 26 before Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Muzaffarpur. The government on July 26 recommended a CBI inquiry into the matter. Medical examinations of 34 of the 42 inmates of the shelter home confirmed they were sexually exploited.