Patna, Aug 18: The opposition RJD in Bihar demanded resignation of state Urban Development Minister Suresh Sharma over the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal and alleged that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was wary of sacking him since he belonged to the BJP.
The party also said that former social welfare minister Manju Verma, who resigned last week and whose premises were raided by the CBI yesterday, was a "small fry" and monitoring of the probe by the Supreme Court was essential to catch the "big sharks". "Why is Nitish Kumar afraid of seeking the resignation of Suresh Sharma. Is it because the minister belongs to the BJP which is in power at the Centre," RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav told reporters here.
"Suresh Sharma is known to be close to Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in the scandal. If the CM thinks that the matter has been set to rest with the resignation of Verma, he is mistaken. We will force the government to drop Sharma from the Cabinet," Yadav, who is the Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly, said.
Sharma, who is an MLA from Muzaffarpur, had recently sent legal notice to Yadav for dragging his name into the sexual abuse of 34 girls in a shelter home in the district. Reacting to the CBI raids at Verma's residences here and in Begusarai, RJD national spokesman Manoj Jha said in Delhi "she is a small fry. We demand that the probe be monitored by the Supreme Court. Only then will the big sharks be caught". Asked whom was he referring to when he spoke of the big sharks, Jha, told PTI, "There are some political big guns and bureaucrats with immense clout.
The case can not be solved until they are exposed and brought to justice. And for that monitoring by the apex court is indispensable." However, the JD(U) - which is headed by Kumar and to which Verma also belongs - rejected the demand of the RJD. JD(U) spokesman Sanjay Singh said, "If the guilt of any person is proved, even if he is a minister, he will not just lose his chair but go to jail. But, no action will be taken simply on the basis of demands by opposition."
Another JD(U) spokesman Ajay Alok said, "They (RJD leaders) can not come up with demands of anybody's removal and expect the government to do their bidding. "The government has even requested the Patna High Court to monitor the CBI probe, which has been accepted. Does the opposition party have no faith in the High Court".
The CBI conducted marathon raids at nearly a dozen properties in four districts of Bihar, including residences of former state minister Manju Verma in Patna and Begusarai, to collect vital clues relating to the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal case.
Sexual abuse of inmates at the "Balika Grih" run by Thakur's NGO had come to light earlier this year when the social welfare department filed an FIR based on report of a social audit of the shelter home by the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences.