A Delhi court, on 11 February, has sentenced the main accused Brajesh Thakur to life imprisonment for sexually and physically assaulting several girls in a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district. Earlier, on 20 January, Thakur has been convicted for aggravated sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The bench headed by the Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha in the 1,546-page judgment, while convicting Thakur of offenses under sections 120-B/324/323 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 21 of the POCSO Act and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act, has sentenced him to life in prison along with eighteen others. Further, the court has acquitted one Vikki in the case for want of evidence.
The other accused in the case include Shaista Praveen, Indu Kumari, Minu Devi, Manju Devi, Chanda Devi, Neha Kumari, Hema Masih, Kiran Kumari, Rosy Rani (former assistant director of the child protection unit in Muzaffarpur), who were held guilty of criminal conspiracy, abetment to rape, and cruelty to a child.
As per sources, the NGO owner and former MLA of the Bihar People’s Party, Brajesh Thakur had allegedly drugged and raped around 34 inmates in the shelter home run by him. Subsequently, in May 2018, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted a report to the Bihar government, highlighting the alleged sexual abuse of minor girls in the shelter homes. An FIR was registered against Thakur and other accused, in connection to the same.