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Alleged victim in Muzaffarpur shelter home case turns hostile in court: sources

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
An alleged victim in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case has turned hostile before a Delhi court, sources said Tuesday.
The alleged victim, who is one of the prosecution witnesses in the case, was declared hostile before Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha, after she failed to recognise two of the accused, the court sources said.
The proceedings are being conducted in-camera.
Meanwhile, advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, appearing for the key accused, Brajesh Thakur, claimed that the CBI was tutoring the witnesses.
The court has recorded the statements of 12 victims, who are also prosecution's witnesses in the case.
On March 30, the court framed various charges, including criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault, against 21 accused and put them on trial.
Besides rape and criminal conspiracy, the court also framed charges under various sections of the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
Thakur, a strongman in Muzaffarpur, was charged with serious charges under POCSO Act, including Section 6 (aggravated sexual assault).
The offence carries punishment of a minimum 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment.
All 21 accused were charged with criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault against minors.
The court will hold trial for the offences of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, drugging of minors, criminal intimidation among other charges.
Thakur and employees of his shelter home as well as Bihar Department of Social Welfare officials were charged with criminal conspiracy, neglect of duty, failure to report assault on the girls.
The charges also included cruelty to child under their authority, punishable under the Juvenile Justice Act.
On February 7, the Supreme Court ordered authorities to transfer the case from Bihar to a POCSO court in Saket District Court complex in Delhi, which would conclude the trial within six months by holding, preferably, day-to-day hearings.
Several girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused at an NGO-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. The issue had come to light following a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 8:40 PM IST

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