Bihar minister resigns amid child rape revelations

Minister’s husband Chandra Shekhar Verma is accused of close links with the main accused of in the child abuse scandal Thakur

Patna: Bihar’s minister for Social Welfare Manju Verma resigned from her post on Wednesday, amid a nation-wide uproar over the case in which as many as 34 young girls were allegedly raped at a shelter home in the state.

She had been in the firing line of the opposition ever since the abuse scandal came to light last month.

The minister tendered her resignation shortly after her husband, Chandra Shekhar Verma, was accused of having close links with the main accused of the sex scandal Brajesh Thakur during the course of the ongoing probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Thakur who is currently in jail is the head of a Non-governmental Organisation running the shelter home in Muzaffarpur town of Bihar, where the girls were allegedly sexually abused.

During the investigation, phone records revealed the minister’s husband talked to Thakur as many as 17 times between January and May this year, the local media has reported.

The investigation has found the minister’s husband remained in close contact with the main accused and both even travelled to Delhi together many times.

The minister, however, came out in strong defence of her husband saying their conversation was nothing unusual given the fact that they had been in political life.

“We have been in political life for long and so, it’s but natural we will take their calls,” Verma said shortly before resigning from her post, adding they were not aware of Thakur’s true colours before the Muzaffarpur incident came to light.

She added quite many times her husband received the calls from Thakur.

“Thakur had been assigned work by my department and hence he was talking with them. But how can [we] know the people calling him are thieves, criminals or genuine persons?” she asked. According to her, many officials were also in touch with the main accused.

Thakur too admitted before the media today that he had indeed talked to minister’s husband although he said the conversatios were purely political.

He made these revelations while being taken to the court for his appearance.

Soon after these revelations in the media, the minister reached the official residence of chief minister Nitish Kumar and handed over her resignation.

“Yes, she has resigned but [opposition parties] should not think it as their victory. She has resigned on moral grounds,” Janata Dal United spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan told the media today.

A few days ago Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had come to the strong defence of the minister saying there was no need for to resign over the Muzaffarpur shelter home horror.

“If someone related to the minister is involved, they won’t be spared. But why is this issue being raised only now. We had called her [Manju] and she denied any involvement. How is it justified to level baseless allegations?” Kumar had told journalists on Monday.


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