By Arun Srivastava
The Supreme Court ordering transfer of the Muzaffarpur shelter home trial to Delhi is a slap on the face of the Nitish government which claims to ensure justice to its people. In shifting the case at Saket in Delhi, the apex court has demonstrated its lack of confidence in the Bihar government. The disgust of the court could be gauged from the observation “Enough is enough’, give us details of 110 shelter homes in the state. How many inmates are there? How the state giving assistance and what is is the number of male and female inmates”. The Supreme Court rebuked Nitish government and transferred the Muzaffarpur case trial to Delhi.
The Nitish government is not penitent and felt remorse of the crime is also evident from its eulogy of the police force. It is really shocking how could a government adore the officers who patronized such crime and protected the politicians involved in the gruesome crime. No denying the fact that it provided enough time to the perpetrator to trample the evidences by allowing Manju Verma the wife of the prime accused to continue to be the minister for more than six months of unraveling the plot. The chief minister, Nitis Kumar should have removed her from the cabinet the day her husband was found guiltyand arrested for being the prime perpetrator.
From the day the case of sexual exploitation of children and women was exposed, the government used its might to circumvent the probe to protect the culprits and criminals. Sensing this attitude of the Nitish government even the Central Bureau of Investigation probing the horrendous crime had argued that the trial would not be fair if it was held in Muzaffarpur. The enormity of the crime could be understood from the simple fact that two girls were killed by the operators. The CBI has expected that the state police would fully cooperate its probe. But it has proved to be utopia.
In the initial stage the case was investigated by the state police but instead of unearthing the crime and conspiracy, it has been more interested in giving the case a burial. The Bihar police had come to know that girls and women were supplied to a number of politicians. Since the Bihar police did not do justice to the girls and women, the case was eventually handed over to the CBI. The apex court was forced to direct the CBI to probe the crime as allegation of such crime taking place in other shelter homes in the state had started pouring in. The alleged abuse of inmates at 17 shelter homes was revealed in a study of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). The Muzaffarpur home was among the worst: many girls reported physical and sexual violence. More than 30 girls below 17 have been sexually assaulted.
According to the FIR, the TISS deals with 17 shelter homes in Bihar put under the category of ‘Grave Concerns’. CBI found that only one member of the staff stood in support of the children at the Bhagalpur home, for which he was targeted by the NGO’s secretary. The director and other officials ran the shelter home in violation of provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Since the report of TISS raised grave concern about 17 shelter homes in Bihar the apex court directed the CBI to take over the probe into allegations of physical and sexual abuse of inmates at 16 shelter homes in Bihar.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B. Lokur transferred the investigation, being conducted by Bihar police, to the CBI while dismissing the state government’s request to not transfer the probe. The apex court also said CBI officers probing the shelter home cases in Bihar shall not be transferred without its prior permission. But the nexus between the criminals-politicians and police has been so strong that even the CBI was made to transfer its officer supervising the probe. The key players involved in the scam made former CBI chief Nageshwar Rao transfer the senior most investigating officer, the joint Director, AK Sharma, without informing the apex court of his move.
THE apex court which has been keeping a watch on the probe could made out the trick Rao was playing. The SC had come down heavily on the CBI for violating its orders and transferring Sharma. It found Rao guilty of committing contempt of court. Realising that he has been caught pants down, Rao enacting the role of a naiveté, offered an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court and confessed of making a “mistake”. His involvement in the conspiracy was apparent as he indulged the nefarious game even after being aware of the fact that he being the director cannot dream of violating or circumventing the Supreme Court’s orders.
What was most disgusting and unbecoming of the behaviour of such a senior police officer was that he put the blame on his legal officer. He said “ I admit that in view of the orders dated 31.10.2018 & 28.11.2018 passed by SC earlier I ought not have agreed with the legal advice for relieving AK Sharma even on his promotion without prior approval of the Supreme Court”. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took serious note of violation of two earlier orders of the apex court and had issued contempt notice to Rao for transferring Sharma to the CRPF on January 17 without taking prior permission from the court.
Finally, the Supreme Court punished him by imposing a time of Rs. One lakh and compelling him to sit at the corner on the Courtroom as accused till the end of the Court hours during the day. The CBI office has thus lost all the dignity associated with the office. (IPA Service)