Muzaffarpur sex scandal: Bihar minister Manju Verma resigns

PATNA: Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma today handed over her resignation to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar amid uproar over sex scandal case in the Muzaffarpur shelter home.

Verma met the chief minister and handed over her resignation to him, sources in the Chief Minister's Office said here.

The minister has been in the eye of the storm after name of her husband surfaced in the case of sexual abuse of girls at state-funded Muzaffarpur shelter home.

Earlier in the day, Brajesh Thakur, the key accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal case, today denied having any "links" with Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma and claimed that he was being framed due to political considerations.

Talking to mediapersons outside a special POCSO court here, where he was produced along with nine other accused arrested in the case, Thakur alleged that he was being made a "political scapegoat" as he was likely to get a ticket from the Congress in a forthcoming election.

Thakur claimed that he was in touch with central leaders of the Congress.

He, however, did not specify if he meant nomination for next year's parliamentary election or the state assembly poll in 2020.

Thakur's claim was immediately dismissed by the Congress as "ridiculous".

Congress MLC Prem Chand Mishra said Thakur was "not even a primary member of the party".

High drama was witnessed outside the court premises as dozens of supporters of the Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) blackened the face of Thakur while he was being taken inside.

The JAP is headed by Madhepura MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who has been vociferously raising the Muzaffarpur issue in Parliament.

Asked about reports that he had made 17 telephone calls to Chandeshwar Verma, the husband of Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma, between January and June this year, Thakur said, "I used to speak to him occasionally on political issues."

"I have only formal relations with them (Manju Verma and her husband) just like I have with you people," Thakur, who also ran three newspapers in Hindi, English and Urdu, said.

Minister Manju Verma is in the eye of the storm ever since the name of her husband cropped up in the case related to alleged rape of 34 girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home run by Thakur's NGO.

Thakur had earlier contested an assembly election as a nominee of Bihar People's Party led by jailed don and former MP Anand Mohan.

Thakur, whose NGO ran the shelter home, has been in jail for the past two months.

Thakur also denied that he had anything to do with Madhu Kumari, who was said to be a close accomplice and also associated with work of his NGO and an Urdu paper.

He claimed that none of the girls had given any statement against him.

Meanwhile, RJD vice president Shivanand Tiwary today made a fresh demand for resignation of Manju Verma following reported disclosure of call details of Thakur linking him to her husband.

Tiwari said, "Verma has started playing the caste card, which appears to have the approval of Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar who is wary of losing his grip over Kushwaha caste in the event of RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha walks out of the NDA.

 

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PTI