Manju Verma, a former Bihar minister linked to the shelter home rape cases, has been remanded to judicial custody till December 1 after she surrendered before a court in Begusarai today.
Ms Verma's surrender is a as a major relief for the state government which has been rebuked by the Supreme Court over its inability to trace her.
The former minister arrived in court in an auto-rickshaw with her face covered with a shawl. She fainted as soon as she entered the court premises. Ms Verma, however, regained consciousness after water was sprinkled on her face by bystanders. But she fell unconscious many times in the court premises. Later, she was then taken to the court room. Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Prabhat Trivedi passed the order to send the minister to jail custody after a medical team examined the former minister.
Ms Verma who was on the run to escape arrest had moved Supreme Court last week for getting anticipatory bail.
The top court has consistently expressed its displeasure over the manner in which shelter home case was being handled by the Bihar government.
The Supreme Court had asked Bihar police chief to be present on November 27, if Ms Verma has not been traced by then.
Manju Verma had resigned as the Social Welfare Minister of Bihar in August after her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma, came under fire for allegedly visiting the Muzaffarpur shelter home many times. Mr Verma, a close aide of the prime accused in the case, Brajesh Thakur, has since been surrendered.
Over 40 young girls were sexually abused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home in in the state. The sexual exploitation of the girls was first brought to the fore in an audit report by the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) submitted to the state social welfare department in April.
After the Supreme Court came down heavily on the state government for three successive days, a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against Ms Verma on November 1. "Is the former minister above the law," the top court had asked during a hearing.
In August, the police had raided the former minister's premises in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter abuse case and seized 50 live cartridges from one of her houses. Following this an arrest warrant was issued against her under the Arms Act. The first case in in the shelter home abuse case was filed on May 31 against 11 people, including Mr Thakur.
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