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Delhi court reserves for Nov 14 order on Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case


Press Trust of India New Delhi
A Delhi court will pronounce on November 14 the judgment in a case of alleged sexual and physical assault on several girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur, which was run by former Bihar People's Party (BPP) MLA Brajesh Thakur, lawyers said.
CBI told a special court there was enough evidence against all the 21 accused.
The accused however claimed that the CBI had not done a "fair investigation" in the case which has been registered under provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act that entails the life imprisonment as the maximum punishment.
The cases were also registered under criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault.
Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha, during the in-camera trial, concluded the arguments in the case which had begun on February 25 this year, a lawyer privy to the proceedings said.
The court concluded hearing final arguments advanced by the counsel for CBI and various accused persons in the case, in which former Bihar Social Welfare Minister and the then JD(U) leader Manju Verma also faced flak when allegations came to the fore that Thakur, one of the key accused, had links with her husband.
The case was transferred on February 7 from Bihar to a POCSO court at Saket district court complex in Delhi on the Supreme Court's directions.
During the trial, counsel for the CBI told the court that the statements of the minor girls, who were allegedly sexually assaulted, point to the fact that there was enough evidence against all the accused and they should be convicted.
Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, appearing for the prime accused Brajesh Thakur, told the court that all the cases were "vague" in nature as there was no particular date, place and time mentioned by the prosecution for the incidents and the CBI had not done a "fair investigation".
He further said that the statements of all the girls, who were allegedly sexually assaulted at the shelter home, were made for the first time in the court.
The minor girls had not made those statements before the police or the magistrate or the CBI and there was no corroborative evidence against the accused, he said.
He had further argued that none of the circumstances set up by the prosecution connect the allegations to the Muzaffarpur shelter home in Bihar.
Counsel for another accused, advocate Gyanendra Mishra told the court that the CBI has done done a "defective" and "lopsided" investigation.
The prosecution has completely failed to bring any evidence to support the allegations, Mishra, appearing for the chairperson of Muzaffarpur Child Welfare Committee (CWC) Dilip Kumar Verma and its member Vikas Kumar, argued.
He further said that it was a case of "zero" evidence and the statements of the victims do not support the charges framed against any of the accused and hence the accused must be acquitted.
The court had earlier framed various charges, including criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault, against 21 people in the case.
Thakur, the prime accused in the case, was charged under provisions of the POCSO Act, including Section 6 (aggravated sexual assault).
The offence carries a punishment of minimum 10 years and maximum of life imprisonment.
The accused include employees of his shelter home and Bihar department of social welfare officials.
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 (TISS).

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First Published: Sep 30 2019 | 8:15 PM IST

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