New Delhi: A Delhi court Monday convicted Brajesh Thakur and 18 others for sexual and physical assault on several girls in a Muzaffarpur shelter home.
Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha convicted Thakur for aggravated sexual assault under POCSO Act and gang rape.
The shelter home was run by Thakur, former MLA of Bihar People's Party (BPP). The court acquitted one of the accused, who included 12 men and eight women.
It fixed January 28 for arguments on quantum of sentence.
The court had on March 30, 2019, framed charges against the accused, including Thakur, for offences of criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault against minors.
It had held trial for the offences of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, drugging of minors, criminal intimidation among other charges.
Thakur and employees of his shelter home, as well as Bihar department of social welfare officials were charged with criminal conspiracy, neglect of duty and failure to report assault on the girls.
The charges also included offence of cruelty to child under their authority, punishable under the Juvenile Justice Act.
The court had reserved order on September 30, 2019 after final arguments by the CBI counsel and 20 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 case was transferred on February 7, 2019 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.
The matter had come to light after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted a report to the Bihar government on May 26, 2018, highlighting the alleged sexual abuse of minor girls in the shelter home for the first time.
Following is the chronology of events in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case in which a Delhi court Monday convicted Brajesh Thakur and 18 others for physically and sexually assaulting several minor girls:
- Feb 2018: TISS submits audit report highlighting incidents of sexual assaults on minor girls in Muzaffarpur shelter home to Bihar's Social Welfare department.
- May 26: TISS report forwarded to Director of Bihar's Social Welfare department.
- May 29: Bihar government shifts girls from shelter home to other protection homes.
- May 31: SIT formed to investigate; FIR lodged against 11 accused including Brajesh Thakur.
- Jun 14: Bihar's Women and Child Development ministry seals Muzaffarpur shelter home, rescues 46 minor girls.
- Aug 1: Bihar Governor Satya Pal Malik writes to Chief Justice of Patna High court, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to monitor shelter homes across the state, suggests formation of fast-track courts for immediate disposal of sexual abuse cases.
- Aug 2: SC takes cognisance; seeks responses from both central and Bihar governments.
- Aug 5: Bihar Governor Satyapal Malik suspends six Assistant Director of State Welfare Department for negligence in duty and delay in taking action after TISS report.
- Aug 7: SC asks print, electronic, social media not to publish in any form pics of victims of sexual abuse.
- Aug 8: Minister of Social Welfare in Bihar Manju Verma resigns in wake of scandal.
- Sep 20: SC says no blanket ban on media reporting in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case.
- Oct 4: CBI informs SC they recovered skeleton of girl from shelter home.
- Nov 28: SC transfers 16 Bihar shelter home abuse cases to CBI.
- Feb 7, 2019: SC orders case be transferred from Bihar to POCSO court at Saket district court complex.
- Feb 25: Trial starts in district court.
- Mar 2: CBI tells court several victims testified against Brajesh Thakur.
- Mar 6: Bihar Child Welfare Committee (CWC) claims not enough evidence against them.
- Mar 30: Trial court frames charges against 21 accused.
- May 3: 11 girls allegedly murdered by Brajesh Thakur, others, CBI tells SC.
- May 6: SC directs CBI to complete probe on alleged murders by June 3.
- Jun 3: SC grants 3 months time to CBI to complete probe.
- Sep 12: SC allows 8 girls to reunite with families; asks Bihar to give assistance.
- Sep 30: Trial court reserves order.
- Nov 14: Judgement deferred due to lawyers' strike here.
- Dec 12: Judgement again deferred as the judge who had conducted the trial was on leave.
- Jan 8, 2020: No evidence of children's murder in Muzaffarpur shelter home case, CBI tells SC.
- Jan 20: Court convicts Thakur and 18 others, fixes Jan 28 for arguments on quantum of sentence....