After TISS report, CBI tells court several victims from Muzaffarpur shelter home testified against Brajesh Thakur 

Several girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused at an NGO-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur. The issue had come to light following a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
So far 17 people have been arrested.
So far 17 people have been arrested.

The CBI Saturday told a Delhi court that charges of rape, kidnapping and causing hurt were made out against Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case, and that several victims had given testimonies against him.

Commencing the arguments on framing of charges, the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) for CBI told the court that statements of 33 victims have been recorded and most of them have testified against Thakur, besides revealing that he used to bring people from outside for raping the girls.

To this, Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha said the charges cannot be clubbed together and directed the agency that for better understanding of the court, a table be made, listing out the date, place and details of the offence committed by every accused.

"If there are 33 victims, charges cannot be clubbed together. Date can be tentative. If he has committed rape with three different girls on the three different dates, then there will be three charges made out against him separately. These are separate offences and need to be charged separately. Make a table for every offence in which you can mention the date, place and crux of the matter," the court said.

The apex court had on February 7 ordered that the shelter home sexual assault case be transferred from Bihar to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court at Saket district court complex here, which would conclude the trial within six months by holding preferably "day-to-day" trials.

Several girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused at an NGO-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur.

The issue had come to light following a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

Arguments on the charges were addressed by counsels for accused Indu, Meena and Neha -- the caretakers of the victims who drugged the girls making them fall asleep, and two state social welfare department officials -- Ravi Raushan and Rosy Rani.

The agency submitted that Raushan and another accused Ramanuj Thakur alias Mamu, along with Brajesh Thakur, used to make these girls dance on vulgar songs in short dresses.

It also said that two of the victims had testified that they were raped in a hotel outside the shelter home belonging to Thakur.

The agency levelled allegations against Rani that she was aware of the wrongdoing in the shelter home as the girls had complained to her but she turned a blind eye and there was a statement from a victim stating that Rani was also involved with the other accused in the exploitation of the girls.

To this, Rani's counsel said that she was not the perpetrator in any of the incidents nor was she physically present at the site. In fact, she was posted elsewhere months prior to the incidents. The court fixed March 5 as the next date for advancing arguments.

Earlier the court had rapped the agency for the delay in notifying SPP in the case and warned it that any laxity to comply with the court's order will amount to contempt and action would be taken against the agency for it.

In the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, an FIR was lodged on May 31, 2018 against 11 people following the TISS report.

On the TISS report, the apex court had said it raised grave concern about 17 shelter homes in Bihar and the CBI must look into all of them.

Of these, the Muzaffarpur case was already being looked into by the CBI. The probe was later taken over by the CBI and so far, 17 people have been arrested. The amicus curiae had also told the court that there were 1,028 shelter homes across India where instances of sexual and physical abuse have been reported.

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