A Delhi court has convicted 19 in connection with the sexual and physical assault of minor girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur district. The Saket court in Delhi on Monday convicted 19 accused, including Brajesh Thakur, former MLA of Bihar People's Party (BPP) and the owner of an NGO, Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti. The shelter home ran under the NGO.
The matter came to light when the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted a report to the Bihar government on May 26, 2018, highlighting the sexual abuse of minor girls in the shelter home for the first time. It was reported that the girls were sexually abused, raped and tortured. In a medical examination, sexual abuse of 34 out of 42 inmates living at the shelter was confirmed. A first information report (FIR) was lodged against 12 people on May 31, 2018, and the state government shifted the girls to other protection homes.
A total of 20 people, including eight women, are accused in the case. Apart from Brajesh, the accused were employees of the shelter and officials from Bihar Department of Social Welfare. On August 2, the SC took cognisance of the sexual assaults and transferred the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 28, 2018. In February 2019, the Supreme Court had directed the case to be transferred from Bihar to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POCSO) court in Saket district court in New Delhi.
According to Live Law, Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha convicted Thakur of rape, gang rape (section 376(D) of the Indian Penal Code), aggravated sexual assault (section 6 of POCSO Act), criminal conspiracy and offences under the Juvenile Justice Act.
The court acquitted one accused in the case, Vicky, of all charges. Another accused Rosy Rani has been acquitted of all charges, barring section 21 of POCSO Act.
The Delhi court has fixed January 28 for arguments on quantum of sentence in the case.
In addition to the sexual assault case, a case of murder was also registered as 35 girls were found missing from the shelter and were suspected to be murdered and buried in the premises. The allegation was based on the statements of other victims at the shelter home. Bones were also unearthed during the investigation. However, on January 8, 2020, the CBI told the apex court that the 35 girls have been found alive. The agency also stated that the bones found on the premises belonged to a man and a woman.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)