Muzaffarpur shelter home case: Court to frame charges on March 25

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 18, 2019 20:01 hrs

A Special POCSO court on Monday reserved its order for framing of charges in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case for March 25.

Addition Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshta, while reserving the verdict, said, "Charges under POCSO Act which carries stricter punishment will be framed in all cases where the victim is 12-14 years of age."

"CBI's counsel had to specify and clarify about the charges laid on the accused. The CBI gave clarification over the same while we presented defensive arguments against the claims of the investigative agency," said Advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha, the counsel for the accused persons.

Justice Kulshreshta also asked the public prosecutor to present a table to show whether the medical evidence shows the sexual assault on the victim and in how many cases do the charges match.

Amicus Curiae in the case, Aparna Bhatt requested the court to conduct video conferencing of the victims to record their statements. The court, however, denied the request. CBI's counsel Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Jindal argued that under the amended definition of rape, actual penetration is not required.

"The court has now reserved the matter for hearing on March 25. It has also said that if time to frame charges is not sufficient that day, it would extend the date of hearing," Ojha told ANI.

The charge sheet filed by the CBI names 21 people including main accused Brajesh Thakur who used to run the state-funded NGO in Bihar where minor girls were allegedly sexually abused over a period of time.

Earlier, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi transferred the trial of the case from Bihar to a Delhi court and ordered the judge to complete the trial within six months.

The bench transferred the trial of the case to the Saket district court and ordered that it should be heard by a POCSO court since the victims are minors.

The Supreme Court on October 31 last year had also rapped the Bihar Police for its failure in arresting the former minister Manju Verma, who came under scrutiny after the disclosure that her husband Chandrashekhar Verma allegedly had links with Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in the alleged rapes in the Muzaffarpur shelter home.

The case pertains to the alleged sexual harassment of 44 girls who used to reside at the state-run shelter home. (ANI)