Bihar’s Social Welfare Department has found nine of its officials guilty of dereliction of duty in monitoring of shelter homes across the state. The nine officials, including two who served in Muzaffarpur, have been under suspension since August 2018, weeks after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) first reported sexual assault of inmates at Muzaffarpur shelter home.
On Monday, a Delhi court had convicted 19 people, including the Muzaffarpur home’s owner Brajesh Thakur, under different charges in the case of sexual assault at the shelter.
According to the department, Ravi Roshan — a 10th official and among the 19 convicted by the Delhi court — is likely to be dismissed from service.
Another convicted official, Rosy Irani, who was posted at Muzaffarpur, is also likely to be dismissed.
Roshan, who was Muzaffarpur district child protection officer, did not face departmental proceedings since he was already facing criminal charges. Now that he has been convicted, the department is likely to dismiss him.
Besides, nearly 20 more Social Welfare Department officials are likely to face departmental proceedings in the wake of CBI’s investigation reports on 17 shelter homes cases across the state. The department has received the probe agency’s reports on 14 cases and is waiting for three more reports to identify its officials for dereliction of duty, according to officials.
The nine officials found guilty for negligence and dereliction of duty — such as not ensuring regular and proper monitoring of shelter homes — are additional child protection unit officers Alok Ranjan (posted at Kaimur), Sima Kumari (Bhagalpur), Ghanshyam Ravidas (Araria), Gitanjali Kumari (Bhagalpur), Neha Nupur (Gaya), Raj Kumar Singh (East Champaran), Rosy Irani (Muzaffarpur), Devesh Kumar Sharma (Muzaffarpur), and additional director (social security) Kumar Satyakam.
Additional Chief Secretary (Social Welfare) Atul Prasad told The Indian Express: “We have already completed departmental proceedings against these nine officers and found them guilty of dereliction of duty. We were waiting for the CBI’s observations on them to decide the quantum of punishment, which include stopping increment with cumulative effect and even dismissal. We have recommended BPSC [Bihar Public Service Commission] for suspension of Rosy Irani, while Ravi Roshan can be dismissed by the Social Welfare Directorate.”
Prasad said the POCSO court’s judgment, convicting 19 people, has taken the Muzaffarpur shelter case to its logical end. “While we admit that the department failed to put in place a foolproof system of monitoring of shelter homes before 2017, we had got TISS to do a social audit, which revealed instances of physical abuse and made inmates open up to tell their horrifying stories.”
He pointed out that monitoring of shelter homes has a format of 125 points and it is difficult to skip these at any level of monitoring now.
TISS first reported instances of sexual assault at the shelter home in a report to the Bihar government on May 26, 2018. Taking cognizance, the Supreme Court transferred the probe to the CBI.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines