Bihar Minister Manju Verma quits

Patna, Aug 8 (IANS) Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma on Wednesday resigned following allegations that a man accused of raping young girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur has links with her husband.

She resigned on being asked by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to put in her papers, according to an official in the Chief Minister's Office.

"Manju Verma visited Chief Minister's residen

ce and had a meeting with Nitish Kumar for over 30 minutes. After that she resigned," said the official.

The Minister had been under attack from the opposition following revelation lath month that Brajesh Thakur -- key accused in the rape of 34 minor girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur -- had close links with her husband Chandeshwar Verma.

But, Manju Verma had refused to resign. Even Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and senior BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi had given her clean chit earlier this week.

However, what seems to have gone against her is an admission by Brajesh Thakur on Wednesday that he used to talk to Chandeshwar Verma on telephone regularly.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the case, has reportedly retrieved the call details of Chandeshwar Verma, according to which he and Brajesh Thakur talked 17 times between January and May this year.

The CBI is looking into the call details record (CDR) of Brajesh Thakur's three mobile numbers he was using until his was arrest.

"Thanks to the CDR, there is clear evidence that Brajesh Thakur was in regular touch with Manju Verma's husband Chandrasekhar alias Chandeshwar Verma, whose whereabouts is not known so far," a senior police officer said.

The CBI team on Tuesday also questioned the driver of Brajesh Thakur, Raju Kumar, and scrutinised his mobile phone. Raju reportedly told the CBI probe team that Brajesh Thakur had close relations with Manju Verma's husband.

Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress leaders have alleged that Manju Verma's husband used to visit regularly the shelter home of Brajesh Thakur, where rape of 34 girls took place. They also alleged that both outgoing minister and her husband had involvement in the shelter home case.

The Muzaffarpur case came to light 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, Mumbai



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