Nitish Kumar and BJP’s silence questioned over Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Case

The developments in Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Case have embarrassed both the Janata Dal United and BJP leaders as both PM Modi and Nitish Kumar have always championed the cause of the girl child.

PTI Photo
PTI Photo
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Soroor Ahmed

The POSCO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) court, contrary to earlier media reports, did not order a CBI investigation into the allegations against Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. What it did however was to forward a petition for such an inquiry to the CBI.

Curiously the petition filed on behalf of one of the accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal involving sedation, sexual abuse, abduction and murder of inmates had alleged that the central agency was suppressing evidence of the role of the chief minister and other senior officers.

While forwarding the petition to the CBI may not help, it could prompt an inquiry by the agency, the allegation itself is likely to have major political ramifications as never before has a serving chief minister come under a cloud of suspicion in a case involving abuse of underage girls in a shelter home.

Luckily for Nitish Kumar the order came a day after the Pulwama attack and therefore the development in the court did not get much media attention. And yet the chief minister, his party and the Bharatiya Janata Party will have a lot of explaining to do.

Charges of corruption, nepotism and even murder have been levelled earlier against several serving chief ministers and other politicians but never before has any one come under suspicion for a case of child abuse.

Earlier this month the Supreme Court punished and fined the CBI acting director Nageswara Rao for transferring the officer, joint director A K Sharma, who was investigating the Muzaffarpur shelter home case. That was the rarest case of punishment of such a top official and it came as a big embarrassment for the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government. Not only that, the apex court also transferred the case to the Saket court in New Delhi. And it also made avery strong observations against the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar.

The developments have embarrassed both the Janata Dal United and BJP leaders as both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar have always championed the cause of the girl child. Be it the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” scheme of the Centre or the distribution of cycles by the Bihar government, both leaders had generated much goodwill.

JD(United) and BJP leaders were quick to target opposition leaders accused of sexual misconduct. When the name of RJD MLA from Nawada in Bihar, Raj Ballabh Yadav figured in one such case of rape, the ruling was quick to single out none else but the party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav. Now that allegations have surfaced against the chief minister himself, RJD and other opposition parties can scarcely be blamed for trying to exploit the situation.

Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha was among the first to come out with a statement against the chief minister. In a Press release he wondered when Nitish Kumar’s conscience would wake up.

When the name of the then deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav figured in the IRCTC case, Nitish left the Grand Alliance on the plea that RJD had failed to come up with a satisfactory explanation. This was despite denial of any wrongdoing by Lalu Yadav and Tejaswi.

Now the ball is in the chief minister’s court and RJD, RLSP and Congress are repeatedly questioning the silence of Nitish and his party as well as that of the BJP.

The opposition parties are demanding the resignation of Nitish. “If he can resign on the ground of his alliance partner Tejashwi named falsely in an alleged land deal when he was a minor, why is Nitish Kumar not quitting when his own name has figured in such a serious case,” the RLSP leader asked.

As Nitish Kumar’s proximity to Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, is well known, it is proving to be difficult for NDA supporters to defend the chief minister and his ministerial colleagues. The delay in resignation of a case and arrest of the then social welfare minister Manju Verma and her husband and repeated strictures by the Supreme Court have also weakened the position of Nitish Kumar and the NDA.

The newspapers run by Brajesh Thakur used to get the state government’s advertisements but now they raise several uncomfortable questions.

Needless to say, the shelter home case surfaced nine months after the ₹1,400 crore Srijan scam, also known as Fund Transfer Scam. This scam came to light less than a fortnight after Nitish’s homecoming to the NDA in July 2017.

The CBI investigation in this case is going on at a very slow pace obviously because of the alleged involvement of several people close to the present government in Bihar.

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