A Delhi court on Thursday deferred by a month its judgement in the case of alleged sexual and physical assault of several girls at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur. Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha deferred the verdict till December 12 as 20 accused, who are currently lodged in Tihar central jail, could not be brought to court premises due the ongoing lawyers’ strike in all six district courts in the national capital.
Former Bihar People’s Party MLA Brajesh Thakur is the prime accused in the case.
The court had reserved order on September 30 after final arguments by the CBI counsel and 11 accused in the case in which former Bihar Social Welfare Minister and the then JD(U) leader Manju Verma also faced flak as allegations surfaced that Thakur had links with her husband.
She had resigned from her post on August 8, 2018.
The CBI had told a special court that there was enough evidence against all the 20 accused in the case.
Although the verdict has been listed for Thursday, the lawyers’ strike in all the six district courts here, following the recent clash between the police and advocates, is yet to be called off.
The accused in the case have claimed that the CBI had not conducted “fair investigation” in the case, which has been registered under provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and entails life imprisonment as the maximum punishment.
Additional Sessions Judge Kulshreshtha, during the in-camera trial, concluded the arguments in the case which had begun on February 25 this year.
The case was transferred on February 7 from a local court in Muzaffarpur in Bihar to a POCSO court at Saket district court complex in Delhi on the Supreme Court’s directions.
During the trial, counsel for the CBI told the court that the statements of minor girls, who were allegedly sexually assaulted, point to the fact that there was enough evidence against all the accused and they should be convicted.
The matter had come to light following a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
The TISS report was given to the Bihar government on May 26, 2018, highlighting the alleged sexual abuse of minor girls in the shelter home for the first time.
On May 29 last year the state government shifted the girls from the shelter home to other protection homes. In May 31, 2018, FIR was lodged against the 11 accused in the case.
The top court had on August 2 taken cognisance of the alleged sexual assaults of minor girls in Muzaffarpur’s shelter home and transferred the probe to the CBI on November 28.