A day after the Supreme Court pulled up the CBI and the Bihar government for not having arrested former state social welfare minister Manju Verma, who had stepped down following the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex abuse scandal, a local court in Manjhaul, in Bihar’s Begusarai district, on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant against her.
While Bihar Police on Wednesday told the top court that Verma was “untraceable”, Patna SSP Manu Maharaj said, “It is true that Patna Police did not conduct any search to look for Manju Verma.”
Asked why no search was conducted, the SSP said, “We did not have a case here.”
At 6-Strand Road, the former minister’s official residence in Patna, Mohammed Munna Sheikh, a washerman who guards the bungalow, said, “I have not seen the police coming here to look for mantri-ji (minister Manju Verma). She has not come here ever since there were talks of her husband’s alleged involvement in the Muzaffarpur case… Her daughter and son-in-law, who live in Digha (area of Patna) come here once in a while.”
A top Patna police officer said Verma’s daughter and son-in-law were also not contacted to learn the former minister’s possible whereabouts.
Verma, whose anticipatory bail plea was rejected by Patna High Court on October 10, represents Cheria Bariarpur Assembly constituency — she won it on a JD(U) ticket for the second consecutive time in 2015.
In Begusarai, where the CBI found nearly 50 live cartridges at Verma’s residence over a month ago, the district police had earlier conducted searches at her family home on a couple of occasions, spoken to “some of her relatives” in an effort to learn her whereabouts, and had withdrawn security from the house, a senior officer said. “It was difficult to arrest (Verma) in the absence of a warrant, which was issued today,” the officer added.
At the Patna bungalow, barely 400 metres from Bihar Police headquarters, Munna Sheikh, who claimed to have “served VVIPs for more than three decades” and lived in outhouses of at least three ministerial bungalows, said police security remained at the residence until a month ago.
“A few days after she resigned, security was withdrawn… some people have pasted a paper (on the bungalow’s nameplate) to hide her previous designation,” he said.