September 27, 2020

Nitish backs minister Manju Verma

Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday categorically said that if any decision to aid Muzaffarpur-based NGO Seva Sankalp and Vikas Samiti – which ran the shelter home where at least 34 minor girls were raped – was taken by social welfare minister Manju Verma, then she would have to resign.

However, he was quick to add a rider.

“If any decision (to help the NGO or its now-arrested proprietor Brajesh Thakur) is found to have been taken at the level of the minister then she will have to go. All those who are connected with the case will also go,” Nitish said. “But how can we hold anybody responsible without any reason? I’d called and asked her (Manju) about the issue. She denied emphatically,” Nitish said, iterating that nothing would be hidden from the CBI probe and nobody would be spared.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the Lok Samvad (public interaction) at his 1 Aney Marg official residence where journalists asked him whether Manju would be sacked or asked to resign.

The Opposition, a few members of ally BJP and various sections of society are demanding Manju’s resignation after the wife of district child protection officer Ravi Kumar Raushan, arrested in connection with the Muzaffarpur case, alleged that the minister’s husband, former MLC Chandeshwar Verma, used to frequent the short-stay home.

The minister has been aggressively defending herself and her husband and has stoutly refused to resign on moral grounds.

She maintains that her husband had accompanied her to the Muzaffarpur Balika Grih only once.

The Opposition RJD on Monday alleged that Nitish was going soft on Manju out of political compulsions as she belongs to the Kushwaha caste, the second largest bloc among the OBCs (Other Backward Classes) after the Yadavs and constituting 6-7 per cent of votes.

Nitish, in response, asserted that he never does caste-based politics and hit out at the Opposition parties for indulging in it.

Though various photographs showing Brajesh with him, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and other leaders were doing the rounds, Nitish pooh-poohed the insinuations about the high-profile contact list of the alleged kingpin of the case in which girls as young as seven were repeatedly raped, and some of them were even made to undergo abortion.

Brajesh, 50, was an accredited journalist by the central and the state governments and was the patron of at least two newspapers published by his son. His accreditation have now been cancelled.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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