A petition seeking inquiry into the alleged involvement of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and two government officials in the Muzaffarpur shelter sexual exploitation case has been to the CBI by a local court.
"Let the petition be shared with the CBI," the court said in its order.
The case, which involves sexual assault and torture of over 30 inmates at a state-funded children's shelter, will be transferred to a court in Delhi's Rohini on Monday in keeping with a Supreme Court verdict.
Principal Secretary (Social Welfare Department) Atul Prasad and former District Magistrate Dharmendra Kumar are the two officials named in the petition filed by one the accused, Ashwani, a medical practitioner who is now in prison in connection with the case.
According to the chargesheet, Ashwani used to visit the shelter home to allegedly administer sedatives to the children so they could be subjected to sexual abuse.
The ruling Janata Dal (United), however, dismissed claims by certain news agencies that the court had ordered the central probe agency to look into allegations against Nitish Kumar and other officials in the case.
In a statement addressed to Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav, who had shared the news reports on his Twitter handle, party spokesperson Sanjay Singh said: "No such order has been passed by the special court. It does not even have the power to issue any such direction to the CBI."
The horrific shelter home rapes came to light in May 2018, when the Bihar Social Welfare Department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the shelter home conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. Among those arrested was Brajesh Thakur, a journalist-turned-social activist who headed the NGO that ran the shelter home. The case was handed over to the CBI last July.
The incident gave rise to political repercussions, with the state opposition alleging that the accused in the case had close links with the ruling Janata Dal (United) BJP government. State Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma resigned following an uproar.
While Thakur has been shifted to a high-security jail in Patiala, the other accused -- including government officials and some close aides -- have been lodged at jails in Patna and Muzaffarpur.
(With inputs from PTI)
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