CBI seeks strictest punishment for Muzaffarpur home case convicts

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday requested a court here to imprison NGO owner Brajesh Thakur till the remainder of life for sexually and physically assaulting several girls in a shelter home in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district.

Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha of Saket court heard arguments on the quantum of sentence to Brajesh Thakur and 18 others, who were convicted in the case last month.

The court will pronounce the order on their sentencing at 2 p.m. on February 11.

The Saket court had on January 20 held Thakur, a former Bihar People's Party legislator, guilty of rape, gang-rape and aggravated sexual assault under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Juvenile Justice Act. The court, however, acquitted one accused.

Besides seeking life imprisonment for Thakur, the investigating agency also urged the court to give maximum punishment to the other 18 convicts.

"It is crime of lust and power and no leniency should be given in it. They are convicted under heinous offence. Give them maximum punishment and impose heavy fine," the CBI counsel urged the court.

The counsel, representing Thakur, however sought lesser punishment for his client contending that he is the "sole breadwinner" of the family and has ailments.

"Brajesh Thakur has to take care of his family's needs. Moreover, all the properties belonging to him and his family members has been seized by the Enforcement Directorate," Advocate Nishaank Mattoo told the court.

Another defence counsel requested the court to give a chance to convicts for reformation and rehabilitation.

"We request you to keep in mind their financial situation while sentencing," the advocate said.

Thakur heads NGO Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, which ran the shelter home.

The case pertains to the allegation that several girl inmates of the shelter home were sexually assaulted.

The matter came to light following a report published by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

The accused included eight females and 12 males. Thakur was the prime accused in the case while others were employees of his shelter home and Bihar Social Welfare Department officials.

The case was transferred from Bihar Police to the CBI in July 2018.

The court had on March 20, 2019, framed charges against the accused for offences of criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault against minors.

The case was, however, transferred from a local court in Muzaffarpur in Bihar to the POCSO court at Saket in Delhi last year on the Supreme Court's directions.


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