Twenty-five Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers are among over 70 officials in Bihar who could face action for lapses in managing shelter homes in the state that was shook by sexual exploitation of over 40 girls at such facilities in 2018.
The lapses tumbled out one after another during a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as it dug deep into the case for one-and-a-half years, officials said. The CBI has asked the Bihar government to act against the officials and has also informed the Supreme Court, officials said.
The CBI in an affidavit to the Supreme Court said it has completed investigation into all the 17 cases liked to the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape cases.
Young girls were forced to dance to vulgar songs, sedated and raped at a government-run shelter in Bihar's Muzaffarpur in a massive sex scandal with links to influential politicians and bureaucrats. A human skeleton - believed to be the remains of one of the victims - was found in October 2018 at a cremation ground in the district's Sikandarpur area.
More grisly details are found in the chargesheet filed by the CBI against the main accused, the politically well-connected Brajesh Thakur, who operated the shelter for several years.
"We have got the report. We will take action under the law. The Nitish Kumar government does not falsely implicate or free anyone," Bihar Social Welfare Minister Krishnanandan Verma told NDTV.
Nivedita Jha, the petitioner in the case, said the findings of the CBI so far are "prima facie". "It is said the criminal act part of the case is yet to be proved. I feel they need to investigate this care more thoroughly," Ms Jha told NDTV.
The state government, however, is yet to decide on what kind of action it should take against the 25 IAS and 45 state civil service officers. Sources said in most of the cases, the officers could be let off with a warning or one or two increments in their salaries could be blocked.