Two close aides of Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal case, including his associate Shaista Parveen alias Madhu were arrested by the CBI on Tuesday, the officials said.
The CBI alleged that the girls at the shelter home were taken to Parveen’s residence where they “were taught dance and soliciting men” but she claimed she was not an accused and no warrant had been issued against her.
“I have nothing to fear as I was not even associated with the shelter home which is under the scanner. I did work for Thakur but I have no knowledge of what happened there,” Madhu told reporters with her face covered with a dupatta.
The CBI officials took her inside their camp office located in the district court premises here. She was accompanied by her lawyers.
“I am ready to extend full cooperation to the CBI, though I am privy to no secrets. I cannot say whether Thakur was involved in any illegal activities. Although I also handled the affairs of some of his newspapers, I deny reports that I used to liaison with ministers and other VIPs to promote Thakur’s business,” she said before going inside the CBI office.
Immediately after her arrest, the CBI caught Dr Ashwini Kumar who allegedly used to administer sedative injections to girls.
Madhu was a resident of Chaturbhuj Sthan locality in the town and had come in contact with Thakur a few years ago when a drive was launched to rehabilitate girls from a red light area there.
Media reports claimed that she used to manage the affairs of all NGOs owned by Thakur, including the Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti which ran the shelter home where inmates were sexually abused.
Under immense pressure from the opposition, the Bihar government had referred the matter of to the CBI.
The case relates to mental, physical and sexual exploitation of girl children residing at the Children Home at Sahu Road, Muzaffarpur.
The CBI has booked officers and employees of the shelter home in question–Balika Grih, Sahu Road Muzaffarpur.
“It is alleged that officials/employees of Girl’s Children Home run by Seva Sankalp Evam Vikash Samiti used to mentality, physically and sexually exploit girl children residing at the said home,” CBI spokesperson said.
At the shelter home in Muzaffarpur, 34 girls – aged seven to fourteen – were allegedly drugged, raped, forced to sleep naked and scalded with boiling water. Some of the girls were also forced to undergo an abortion.
The case came to light when the Bihar Social Welfare Department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the shelter home conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
An FIR was subsequently registered by the Bihar social welfare department and 10 persons, including prime accused Brajesh Thakur whose NGO ran the shelter home, were arrested.
Previously on Wednesday, Former Bihar Minister Manju Verma surrendered in a Begusarai court days after the Supreme Court rapped the Bihar government and the police for their failure to arrest her in a case related to the recovery of ammunition from her home during a CBI raid in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case.
In September, an FIR was registered against the former minister and her husband in August under Arms Act, 1959, following the recovery of 50 cartridges from her in-law’s house at Begusarai district during a CBI raid in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal.
Social welfare minister Manju Verma had to resign after it became known that her husband was in close touch with the main accused Brijesh Thakur.
Verma’s husband Chandrasekhar Verma had earlier surrendered in the Begusarai District Court after a lower court and the Patna High Court repeatedly rejected his interim bail petitions.
(With PTI inputs)