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Muzaffarpur shelter home case: Fantastic.. ex-cabinet minister is not traceable, says SC

Patna: Expressing shock over the Bihar Police's failure to arrest former cabinet minister Manju Verma in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex abuse scandal, the Supreme Court Monday once again lashed out at the administration and summoned the state Directorate General of Police (DGP) for an explanation in person on November 27.

"Fantastic! The Cabinet minister (Manju Verma) is on the run, fantastic. How could it happen that the Cabinet minister is absconding and nobody knows where she is. Do you realise the seriousness of the issue that the Cabinet minister is not traceable? It's too much," Justice Madan B Lokur said.

The apex court also expressed concerns over the "mismanagement" of shelter homes in the state and also directed the Chief Secretary to appear before it on the same day.

Last month, the court had slammed the police for not arresting Verma and wondered whether she was above the law because she was a cabinet minister. Appearing for the state, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar had sought time to take instructions on the matter. "Mr Ranjit Kumar all is not well in the state," the court had told the advocate.

The state police had also earlier told the top court that Verma was "untraceable" while Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj had said that Patna Police did not conduct any search to look for the former minister. A top Patna police officer had said that Verma's daughter and son-in-law were also not contacted to learn Verma's possible whereabouts.

The court had asked the state police to investigate Verma and her husband Chandrasekhar after a large quantity of arms and ammunition was recovered from their residence during raids conducted in connection with the sexual abuse case. Chandrasekhar also came under the lens after call records of the prime accused Brajesh Thakur threw up his name.

Verma had stepped down as the Social Welfare minister following reports alleging close links between her husband Chandrashekhar Verma and Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in the scandal. She had moved the high court after her anticipatory bail plea was rejected by a Begusarai court on August 25. However, the same was rejected by the Patna High Court on October 9 following which she had gone missing.

Verma represents Cheria Bariarpur Assembly constituency — she won it on a JD(U) ticket for the second consecutive time in 2015.

with inputs of Indian Express

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