New Delhi: A Delhi court Monday convicted Brajesh Thakur and 18 others for sexual and physical assault on several girls in a Muzaffarpur shelter home. Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha convicted Thakur for aggravated sexual assault under POCSO Act and gang rape. The shelter home was run by Thakur, former MLA of Bihar People's Party (BPP). The court acquitted one of the accused, who included 12 men and eight women. It fixed January 28 for arguments on quantum of sentence. The court had on March 30, 2019, framed charges against the accused, including Thakur, for offences of criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault against minors. It had held trial for the offences of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, drugging of minors, criminal intimidation among other charges. Thakur and employees of his shelter home, as well as Bihar department of social welfare officials were charged with criminal conspiracy, neglect of duty and failure to report assault on the girls. The charges also included offence of cruelty to child under their authority, punishable under the Juvenile Justice Act. The court had reserved order on September 30, 2019 after final arguments by the CBI counsel and 20 accused in the case in which former Bihar Social Welfare Minister and the then JD(U) leader Manju Verma also faced flak as allegations surfaced that Thakur had links with her husband. She had resigned from her post on August 8, 2018. The case was transferred on February 7, 2019 from a local court in Muzaffarpur in Bihar to a POCSO court at Saket district court complex in Delhi on the Supreme Court's directions. The matter had come to light after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted a report to the Bihar government on May 26, 2018, highlighting the alleged sexual abuse of minor girls in the shelter home for the first time.
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