It’s all a conspiracy, says Brajesh Thakur’s family

The family of Brajesh Thakur, one of the 10 accused arrested in connection with the alleged rape of 29 minor girls living in a State-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, has alleged “conspiracy” in the entire episode.

Thakur’s NGO, Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, ran the shelter home, Balika Grih, from a building adjacent to his palatial residence where he lives with his family. It is from the same building that a vernacular newspaper,
Pratah Kamal
, owned by Thakur, comes out every morning. The arrests have not affected the publication of the daily.

No names in FIR

The campus wore a deserted look when
The Hindu
visited it on Wednesday morning. Rubbishing the allegations levelled against him, Thakur’s daughter Nikita Anand said: “It’s all a big conspiracy against my father who is being mentally and physically tortured. He has been in social service for a long time and is paying the price for it. Is my father’s name there in the FIR?”

The FIR (No. 33/2018) filed on behalf of the State Social Welfare Department at the women police station does not name anyone. It is based on a report of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, which, under the caption “Grave Concern”, states that girls of the shelter home complained of “violence and being sexually abused”.

“Do you think one would be involved in such a heinous crime, if it has at all happened, in a building adjacent to his house where his wife, daughters and son live,” asked Ms. Anand. “It’s all being done under intense media pressure. In such a situation nobody listens to us. I request the district administration to conduct an impartial probe,” she said.

Influential man

A number of people in Muzaffarpur, the commercial capital of north Bihar, told
The Hindu
that Thakur has been an influential person with strong political contacts. His father, late Radha Mohan Thakur, had founded
Pratah Kamal
in the early ’80s. Thakur carried on his father’s legacy and, people said, used the power of the newspaper, empanelled by the State government, to cultivate his contacts in political and bureaucratic circles.

In 2000, he contested Assembly polls from Kudhani constituency on a Bihar People’s Party ticket, then an NDA ally, but lost. He later got into social service and founded the NGO which, in 2013, was given the contract of managing the affairs of the shelter home for girls.

In the Balika Grih building, a portrait of late Radha Mohan Thakur and a Bihar Human Rights Commission calendar was seen hanging on a wall in the verandah on the ground floor. The July page of the calendar had a photo of three young girls aiming for the sky. Ironically, on the floor above, 29 girls of 42 inmates of the shelter home were allegedly raped. All of them have now been shifted to other shelter homes in other districts. Four Sports Utility Vehicles were parked inside the campus and an Alsatian dog kept a watch on every stranger entering the premises.

An hour later, the campus was buzzing with activity as policemen, media persons and politicians crowded the premises.

Politicians turn up

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Tejashwi Yadav, along with Congress and Hindustani Awam Morcha leaders, inspected the shelter home as Ms. Anand and her maternal aunt watched with desolate eyes from a corner of their house.

The caravan of leaders left the campus in a few minutes. At the Circuit House, a few kilometres away, Mr. Yadav looked agitated. “What’s the problem of the Nitish Kumar government? Why can’t it hand over the case to the CBI when Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is ready for it,” he asked, with a ready answer: “It seems the government wants to shield someone close to them in the case.”

District Senior Superintendent of Police Harpreet Kaur insisted the accused have been arrested based on the evidences against them. “Nobody will be spared if found involved in the case in any way,” she added.

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