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More Bihar shelters to be investigated by CBI

Posted in S. Asia

Published on November 29, 2018 with No Comments

The Supreme Court of India has transferred investigations in the Bihar shelter home abuse cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), rejecting the Nitish Kumar-led government’s plea that such a move would cast a doubt on the state police’s ability. The shelter homes were named in a survey by the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) that found rampant sexual abuse and physical assault of children living there. Seventeen homes were placed in the “most aggravated category.” While CBI took over the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, Bihar police registered criminal cases only against 10 shelter homes, that too under lesser offences. Five homes are not under probe. A bench led by justice MB Lokur took strong objection to the way Bihar police had gone “soft” in the cases and suggested that the CBI look into the entire gamut of allegations in the TISS report. The CBI special public prosecutor told the bench the agency’s interim director, M Nageshwar Rao, had no objections to taking over the probe. Before this, the agency got a rap from the judges after the prosecutor said Rao was unable to give a view as he was barred from taking any major policy decision by another bench of the top court hearing the CBI director AK Verma’s case.

“The order in Verma’s case doesn’t mean that investigations in cases by CBI will stop. Why has he taken this view? It’s very difficult to understand. Does he want to say that he does not want to investigate? Tomorrow’s matter has nothing to with this at all,” justice Lokur told the CBI counsel, directing him to get instructions on phone As the judges awaited the CBI’s response, Bihar counsel Gopal Singh placed before them a letter sent to him by the inspector general of Patna circle listing rectifications made in the FIRs. Singh said the state had made an earnest effort to correct its mistakes. The judges, however, got furious after reading the letter as they found that the changes in the FIRs were made on instructions from a senior police officer, not because the investigating officer felt the need to do so. After the CBI lawyer conveyed the interim director’s decision to the judges, they ordered, “Instances mentioned in the chapter (of TISS report) under grave concern should also be looked into by the CBI.” The court said officers who are part of the probe team shall not be transferred without the court’s notice. The court made it clear that CBI officers would report to AK Sharma, who is the officer in charge of investigations in the Muzaffarpur case.






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