The Patna High Court on Monday decided to monitor the CBI investigation into the alleged sexual exploitation and abuse of 34 girls at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district. 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 Patna High Court has accepted the state government’s appeal to hold an HC-monitored CBI inquiry and conduct speedy trials in a special court,” ANI quoted Advocate General Lalit Kishore as saying. The court has also asked the Nitish Kumar-led government to provide details on rehabilitation of the shelter home inmates, Kishore said.
“Patna HC has given two weeks time to CBI to prepare a report. Also, the court has asked the government to provide details on rehabilitation of the inmates of shelter home,” he said. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar last week said he would recommend for an HC-monitored CBI probe into the case after the Opposition stepped up their attack on the government.
The development comes after the Supreme Court last week took suo moto cognizance of the case and issued notices to the state government and Union Ministry of Women and Child Development. The court also restrained media from telecasting morphed images saying the victims cannot be forced to “relive the trauma”. The next day for hearing is on August 7.
Till now, the police have arrested 11 persons in the case, including the prime accused, who is the owner of NGO Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti that ran the shelter home. The case has brought to light the gross negligence of the government in the handling of such shelter homes.
A month after the TISS report was submitted in April, the state social welfare department sanctioned another project to the NGO on the same day police lodged an FIR against the NGO. It has also emerged that the NGO had a “ghost” secretary whom no official of the social welfare department had ever “seen or met”.