Muzaffarpur shelter home case: CWC officials claim not enough evidence against themhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/muzaffarpur-shelter-home-case-bihar-cwc-officials-claim-not-enough-evidence-5614446/

Muzaffarpur shelter home case: CWC officials claim not enough evidence against them

The apex court had on February 7 ordered that the shelter home sexual assault case be transferred from Bihar to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court at Saket district court complex here, which would conclude the trial within six months.

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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). (Representational Image)

Two officials of Bihar Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on Wednesday claimed before a Delhi court that there was not enough evidence against them in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case.

The submissions were made before Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha who was hearing arguments on point of the framing of charges against the accused in the case.

The counsel for accused chairperson of Muzaffarpur Child Welfare Committee (CWC) Dilip Kumar Verma and its member Vikas Kumar and state social welfare department official Rosy Rani concluded their arguments and the submissions of other co-accused will be addressed on Thursday.

Advocate Gyanendra Mishra, appearing for Verma and Kumar, said the law mandates that the entire documents submitted by the prosecution have to be looked into including the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) and other medical reports.

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He argued that the medical report submitted by the prosecution did not indicate enough evidence to substantiate the allegations of sexual assault and rape. He added that there were no grave allegations against them.

The counsel appearing for Rani argued that she could not be charged for the offence of abetting the sexual assault of the victims and at the most, she could be booked for dereliction of duty.

The CBI had earlier levelled allegations against Rani that she was aware of the wrongdoing in the shelter home as the girls had complained to her but she turned a blind eye and there was a statement from a victim stating that the woman officer was also involved with the other accused in the exploitation of the girls.

The agency had told the court that most of the victims in the sexual assault case were minors.

The Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) for the CBI had told the court that the victims’ ossification test, done to determine their ages, has shown that except for one or two, all of them were under 18 years of age.

Along with the reports of the ossification test, the agency had also submitted in court other medical records of the victims.

The apex court had on February 7 ordered that the shelter home sexual assault case be transferred from Bihar to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court at Saket district court complex here, which would conclude the trial within six months by holding preferably “day-to-day” hearing.

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).

In the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, an FIR was lodged on May 31, 2018 against 11 people following the TISS report.

On the TISS report, the apex court had said it raised grave concern about 17 shelter homes in Bihar and the CBI must look into all of them. Of these, the Muzaffarpur case was already being looked into by the CBI.

The probe was later taken over by the CBI and so far, 17 people have been arrested.

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The amicus curiae had also told the court that there were 1,028 shelter homes across India where instances of sexual and physical abuse have been reported.