- 35 girls suspected to have been killed in Bihar shelter are alive: CBI
- Last year, CBI told Supreme Court said it had found a "bundle of bones"
- Today, CBI said two skeletons were recovered during probe
Thirty-five girls suspected to have been killed at a shelter in Bihar's Muzaffarpur are alive, the CBI told the Supreme Court today in a sensational twist in the mass sex assault case that triggered nationwide outrage about two years ago.
Last year, the CBI had told the Supreme Court that the politically well-connected Brajesh Thakur, who ran the shelter, and his aides, may have killed 11 girls and it had found a "bundle of bones". Today, the CBI said two skeletons were recovered during their investigation and those were of a man and a woman. No evidence of any minor being murdered had been found.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, said the children believed to have been murdered were later tracked down and found to be alive. The CBI has investigated cases of 17 shelter homes in Bihar and a charge-sheet has been filed in 13 of them. In four cases, the inquiry was closed as no evidence was found, said the agency. The CBI status report was accepted today by a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde.
Young girls were forced to dance to vulgar songs, sedated and raped at the government-run shelter in the scandal that exposed the role of influential politicians and bureaucrats. More grisly details have been revealed in the chargesheet filed by the CBI against key accused Brajesh Thakur, who was caught smiling to the cameras while being taken to a court hearing.
The sex abuse case surfaced during a survey by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. A petition was filed by journalist Nivedita Jha before the Supreme Court seeking a court-monitored probe by an independent agency into the allegations.
Today the petitioner's lawyer Shoaib Alam argued in court that the CBI had not responded to statements by inmates who had alleged murders at the shelter. The petitioner has been asked to file a reply on the CBI's report.
The investigating agency has also asked the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar to act against officials found responsible for lapses in managing shelter homes in the state during its one-and-a-half year-long probe. Twenty-five Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers are among over 70 officials who could face action.