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Muzaffarpur Shelter Case: Court Dismisses Brajesh Thakur's Plea Claiming Witnesses Not Reliable

The plea said the CBI on January 8 submitted a status report in the Supreme Court wherein it said that the some of the girls of the shelter home, who were thought to be allegedly murdered, were alive.

PTI

Updated:January 18, 2020, 9:06 PM IST
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Muzaffarpur Shelter Case: Court Dismisses Brajesh Thakur's Plea Claiming Witnesses Not Reliable
File photo of Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday dismissed a plea filed by Brajesh Thakur, prime accused in alleged sexual and physical assault on several girls in a Muzaffarpur shelter home, which claimed testimonies of witnesses in the case were not reliable.

During an in-camera proceedings, Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha rejected the plea on the ground that the case of sexual assault was different from the case of alleged murder of some of the girls in the shelter home, said a lawyer privy to the matter.

The CBI had told the court that the probe agency had just given an interim report in the Supreme Court stating they had found no evidence against the allegations of murder and in fact the girls who were believed to have been murdered were found to be alive, the lawyer said.

The case of alleged murder of girls in the shelter home and the case of alleged sexual assault were two different cases, the CBI said.

The probe agency, in its reply filed before the court, said that they have not yet given a clean chit to the accused against the allegations of murder and the statement in the top court was just an interim report.

The court had earlier deferred for the third time pronouncement of judgement in the case till January 20 after the petition was filed before it.

The plea said the CBI on January 8 submitted a status report in the Supreme Court wherein it said that the some of the girls of the shelter home, who were thought to be allegedly murdered, were alive.

Thakur's petition, filed through advocate PK Dubey, has claimed that the prosecution witnesses in the shelter home sexual assault case were not trustworthy as the investigation into the allegations of murder were based on their statements.

These facts were relevant and essential for a fair trial, it said.

"It is pertinent to mention that the investigation into the allegations of murder were based on the statements made by the prosecutrixes (rape survivors) who are prosecution witnesses in the case. They had levelled false allegations against the accused before the court including inter alia allegations pertaining to murder," it said.

The plea has further alleged that the case setup by the prosecution witnesses was "false, fabricated and concocted".

"These facts were not only relevant but sine qua non (essential) for the just adjudication in the present case.

"The facts prove that the aforementioned prosecution witnesses are unreliable and untrustworthy and they have mislead not only the investigating agency but also this court. Further, the case set up by the prosecution witnesses is false, fabricated and concocted," the plea claimed.

These facts were new developments which were not available with the accused at the time of the trial and therefore could not have been placed before the court despite all diligence, it said.

The court had on March 20, 2018, framed charges against the accused, including Thakur, for offences of criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault against minors.

The accused included eight women and 12 men. The Court had held trial for the offences of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, drugging of minors, criminal intimidation among other charges.

Thakur and employees of his shelter home, as well as Bihar department of social welfare officials were charged with criminal conspiracy, neglect of duty and failure to report assault on the girls.

The charges also included offence of cruelty to children under their authority, punishable under the Juvenile Justice Act.

All the accused, who appeared before the court, pleaded innocence and claimed trial. The offences entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

The matter had come to light after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted a report to the Bihar government on May 26, 2018, highlighting the alleged sexual abuse of minor girls in the shelter home for the first time.

The top court had on August 2 last year, taken cognisance of the alleged sexual assault of about 30 minor girls in Muzaffarpur's shelter home and transferred the probe to the CBI on November 28.

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