Former Bihar minister Manju Verma, facing trial in an Arms Act case after recovery of ammunition from her house during a CBI raid in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal, alleged on Saturday that she was being harassed as she is a woman and belong to the "weaker" Kushwaha caste.
Manju Verma, who had surrendered on November 20 after the Supreme Court rapped the Bihar government for its failure to secure her arrest after three months of registration of the case, gave vent to her outrage before journalists at the court of Majhaul Sub-Division.
She and her jailed husband Chandrasekhar Verma were presented before the court of the Majhaul Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Prabhat Trivedi, which extended the couple's judicial remand by 14 days.
Asked where she had been for three months, she countered, "I want to ask Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav and his ally and former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, why am I being harassed. What is my fault?"
She said her and her husband's names have been "dragged" in the Muzaffarpur case. "Whatever action was required in my capacity as the minister for social welfare, was taken. When demand arose for a CBI probe that was also accepted," Manju Verma said.
"Am I being harassed because I belong to the Kushwaha caste, which is a weaker social segment, and because I am a woman. Let everybody remember the distress caused to me is not to Manju Verma - an individual but also the MLA of Cheria Bariarpur assembly segment," the former minister who was suspended from the JD(U) last month in the wake of the controversy, said.
Manju Verma had resigned on August 6 following media reports that the call records of her husband Chandrashekhar Verma suggested that he had close links with Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the scandal and owner of the NGO which ran the shelter home.
Meanwhile, Chandrashekhar Verma, who was also produced before the court, pleaded with the media to "stop dragging our name" in the shelter home sex scandal, saying, "Even the CBI has not named us as accused."
The couple's Cheria Bariarpur residence was raided by the CBI a fortnight after the former ministers resignation and a case was registered by police on the central agency's information that about 50 cartridges were found inside the premises.