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Bihar shelter home rape case: Nitish orders CBI probe as Opposition steps up attack

PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)s into the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape scandal as the Opposition stepped up its attack on the ruling Janata Dal-United-BJP government in the state.

According to ANI, CM Nitish Kumar on Thursday issued the orders to the Chief Secretary, Principal Home Secretary and DGP to hand over the investigation into the case to the CBI.

The move comes a day after the state assembly witnessed pandemonium over the Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal, with the RJD accusing the ruling NDA of trying to influence the probe and demanding Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's resignation.

RJD MLAs also staged a protest outside Bihar Legislative Assembly over the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case on Thursday.

Leader of Opposition and RJD lawmaker Tejashwi Yadav alleged that Brajesh Thakur, the patron of an NGO, which ran the shelter home, was associated with the Chief Minister's campaign team in Muzaffarpur during the last Lok Sabha elections.

"In view of the spiralling rise in the incidence of crimes against women, especially young girls, we have decided to give slogan of 'NDA bhagao, beti bachao' during our state-wide cycle rally beginning later this week", Tejashwi said.

Yadav also pressed for a High Court-monitored CBI probe into the alleged sexual exploitation of girls at the state-funded shelter home.

"During our visit to Muzaffarpur, we met a cross-section of people who told us that some leaders sitting in New Delhi and Patna were calling up officials in the administration with a view to influencing the investigation into the case.

"We have been saying this that the ruling dispensation in the state was trying to shield the accused, many of whom are close to the people in power," he said.

"I have been told that Brajesh Thakur, the patron of the NGO which ran the shelter home, had been a part of the campaign team of the chief minister in Muzaffarpur during the last Lok Sabha elections", he claimed.

Yadav also alleged that according to the information he had Thakur was a frequent visitor to the office of Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

"A Hindi daily run by him is said to have received lavish advertisements from the state' Information and Public Relations Department", the RJD leader alleged.

"The suspicions grew stronger in the wake of the fact that Thakur's name did not figure initially among the accused. After his arrest, he was reportedly not cooperating with the investigation and yet his police remand has not been sought", he alleged.

"Apparently, the mobile phones of the accused have not been sent for forensic examination as these could help fetch deleted messages, some of which could be incriminating in nature", Yadav alleged.

The RJD leader also claimed that CCTV cameras, if any, were not examined and though the shelter home housed minor girls, the opposition delegation learnt that abortion tools were kept there.

"This aspect has not been examined either," he alleged.

"In this backdrop, it is clear that the state government has neither the competence nor the intention to carry out a fair and impartial investigation. We wonder why it is not ordering a CBI inquiry despite the statement given by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday", the RJD leader said.

Besides Yadav, Congress MLA Vijay Shankar Dubey too raised the issue in the House during the Question Hour and demanded a CBI probe.Yadav told reporters that Kumar should resign taking moral responsibility for failure to maintain law and order as he also holds the home portfolio.

He was joined by a delegation of the RJD, Congress, Hindustani Awam Morcha and CPI-ML.

On his turn, HAM president and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said the government took a month to act on the social audit report on the shelter home and officials took another few days to file an FIR.

Opposition MLAs, including those from the RJD and the Congress, trooped into the well of the House and raised slogans against the Nitish Kumar government's refusal to hand over the matter to the CBI.

However, Bihar Director General of Police S Dwivedi had said he was satisfied with the progress of police investigation into the case and that there was no need for a CBI probe.

He had said the medical examination of 29 of the 42 inmates had confirmed that they were sexually exploited.

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