On Wednesday, shocking testimonies of victims from the horrific Muzaffarpur shelter home mass rape aired by Republic TV provoked outrage through the nation. The victims, all of which were minors, some as young as seven years old, revealed the atrocities they had been subjected to at the home run by NGOs of main-accused Brajesh Thakur, a prominent journalist and publisher in Bihar with alleged links to a number of politicians. Now, over a pair of stings, Republic TV has dug deeper into the alleged nexus that allegedly partook in and/or facilitated, and/or tried to cover up the horror.
The first sting, which can be seen above, comprises of the account of Muzaffarpur SSP Harpreet Kaur who investigated the case till the CBI took over on Wednesday. Speaking to Republic TV's reporter, Kaur, who said she had only been appointed to the post on May 1, after the TISS report highlighting the sexual abuse was submitted but before the FIR was filed in the case, spoke about the origin of the case, and much else.
Harpreet Kaur revealed that the police started investigating the case after it was registered by the Social Welfare department, following TISS tabling their social audit report in 2017.
On a statement made in another sting (mentioned below) by a BJP politician from Muzaffarpur, regarding the depraved activities going on at the home for two decades and the alleged involvement of politicians, she said that at the moment, the case was against 11 people, 10 of whom had been sent to jail.
"What will come in the future, I can't say right now", going on to refer to the CBI inquiry.
She revealed that the one accused who hasn't been sent to jail is Dilip Kumar, Chairman of CCWC.
Republic TV's reporter asked her about the alleged involvement of the husband of Bihar's Social Welfare minister Manju Verma, who was alleged by the families of one of those arrested in the case to have visited the shelter and participated in the sexual exploitation. To this, she said that it had been raised by politicians, but nothing had been found in her probe yet.
"We don't have anything that can link him in the case. We didn't have anything so far."
On links to other politicians, she offered that there was talk of Brajesh Thakur's links with several politicians but she didn't know much about them because she had only recently been appointed. On finding out about this during the probe, she said, "He would talk to everyone... connections. As a journalist or in any other capacity, which he must be. He must be with the officers of with others, it can be anybody, but on that basis saying they're involved, we don't have that evidence with us in our investigations."
When she was asked about connections with other politicians, particularly, photographs, she said, "Yes, he has photographs with a lot of people, people who are in the Opposition. He is standing with them and with everyone. So if there is a photo or if he had a conversation, until we have evidence, we can't prove that the person in question is related to this case without any evidence."
When she was asked point-blank whether any link had emerged, she said: "Till now no link has emerged".
Upon being probed further about names of politicians that have emerged, she said that the CBI must talk about it. Finally, she was asked about the absence of CCTV cameras at the shelter, to which she said that the matter had been raised in the investigation.
On Thursday, during the sting of the politician, claims had emerged that the "powerful and connected" Brajesh Thakur had "rich political links" and that nobody was speaking about the matter because they knew him. 'He booked hotels and halls for netas', the insider had alleged, even claiming a threat to his own life if it came to light that he had spoken out. 'Political parties are Thakur's puppets', he said, naming the BJP and JD(U) and claiming that Thakur had been doing this for 20 years and used to even send 'envelopes to Bihar ministers'
On Friday, after a long silence that has seen him being cornered by his political opponents, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar finally spoke up. Addressing an event about protecting the girl child where just a short while earlier Republic TV's reporter had been manhandled by security personnel while confronting the accused Minister Manju Verma, Nitish Kumar defended himself and praised Verma, over his party's line that the audit had been ordered by the Bihar government:
"We are ashamed of the incident which has taken place in Muzaffarpur. CBI is investigating the case and the high court should monitor it so that the people responsible for the incident is not spared. There is a flaw in the system that we should fix. We should work together and put a full stop on such horrific incident".
"It's a sin. It's a sick mentality. I am in deep pain. I have empowered women in Bihar but this incident against women has pained me. We will ensure that the culprits are punished. No one will be spared whosoever. We will try to improve the system and make the people aware", he added.
He assured people that "no leniency will be shown towards" the culprit.
"I would like to assure everyone that no leniency will be shown towards anyone, all those found guilty will be severely punished", Nitish said, before leaving in a huff.