Facing criticism for her husband’s alleged link in the Muzaffarpur shelter home abuse case, Manju Verma on Wednesday stepped down from the post of Bihar’s social welfare minister. Her husband is accused of having links with alleged mastermind in the case Brajesh Thakur. Verma met the chief minister and handed over her resignation to him, sources in the Chief Minister’s Office said.
Verma said she had resigned because of the furore created by the media and the Opposition. “I resigned because media and opposition had created a furore. But I have full faith in CBI and judiciary. I am sure truth will be out and my husband will come out clean,” ANI quoted Verma as saying. Verma also demanded that the call records of the main accused Brajesh Thakur, the owner of the NGO which ran the shelter home, be made public. “We will then see who all he used to talk to,” she said.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had earlier rubbished the allegations against Verma. “If someone related to the Minister is involved, they won’t be spared. But why is this issue being raised only now. We had called her (Manju) and she denied any involvement. How is it justified to level baseless allegations?” Kumar had said.
There was a widespread criticism against the minister and the state government after the report of sexual abuse of 34 girls at a state-funded shelter home in Muzaffarpur emerged.
The Patna High Court had on Monday decided to monitor the CBI investigation into the case. The court also ordered a speedy trial in the case and gave the CBI two weeks time to prepare a report on the case, which came to light in April following an audit of the shelter home by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, which said many girls had complained of sexual abuse.
The Supreme Court has also pulled up the Bihar government over the case, saying the state had financed it in a way by giving public funds to the accused shelter homes. “Why did the state allow these to happen. The state gave funds… So in a way, the state-financed these activities,” the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, Deepak Gupta, and K M Joseph had said on Tuesday.