In a sensational revelation by CBI in the Supreme Court on Friday, 11 girls were allegedly murdered by key accused Brajesh Thakur and his accomplices and "bundle of bones" recovered from a burial ground in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse case.
In its affidavit filed in the top court, CBI stated that from the statement of victims recorded during the probe, names of 11 girls have emerged, who were said to be allegedly murdered by Thakur and his accomplices.
The agency said that on the pointing out of one of the accused, a particular spot in a burial ground was excavated from where a bundle of bones was recovered.
Several girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused at an NGO-run shelter home at Muzaffarpur in Bihar and the issue had come to light following a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
The probe into the case was transferred to CBI and the agency has chargesheeted 21 people, including Thakur.
"During investigation, from the statement of victims recorded by IOs (investigating officers) and NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences) team, names of 11 girls emerged who were said to be allegedly murdered by the accused Brajesh Thakur and his accomplices," the CBI said.
"Based on the facts revealed by one accused, namely Guddu Patel during his interrogation, a particular spot in burial ground as identified by accused Guddu Patel was excavated and a bundle of bones were recovered from the spot," CBI said in the affidavit filed on an application which had alleged that it had not conducted a proper probe in the case.
The matter came up for hearing on Friday before a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta.
The bench said that it would issue a formal notice to the CBI on the application and the agency would file its response within four weeks.
Advocates Shoeb Alam and Fauzia Shakil, appearing for the petitioner, told the bench that the CBI has not done a proper investigation about larger conspiracy in the case and has not chargesheeted the accused under stringent provisions of law.
"Can we issue directions without hearing them (CBI)?", the bench said.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for CBI, told the court that the agency has already filed a reply on the application.
"The CBI has filed the reply. Each of the allegations in the application are without substance and are baseless," Venugopal said.
The bench, after hearing the brief submissions, posted the matter for hearing on May 6.
In its affidavit, the CBI has said that they have carried out a "thorough, fair, impartial probe" in the case.
"It is specifically denied that the investigating agency failed to conduct a thorough investigation or has left out any crucial leads. It is denied that investigation is a hogwash or investigation has avoided any crucial lead to shield any perpetrator," it said.
The CBI said that investigation regarding allegations of murder was carried out by them soon after revelations were made by the victims.
"On scrutiny of the details of these 11 girls entered in the master register (of shelter home), it was found that there were a total of 35 girls with identical/similar names who at one time or the other stayed at Balika Grih, Muzaffarpur," it said, adding that "as per revelation made by the inmates before IOs, all the alleged burial grounds were excavated by local police/CBI".
It said that further investigation on this aspect is still going on.
The CBI said that allegations regarding involvement of outsiders, who used to physically or sexually abuse the girls, have been properly investigated by them and accused have also been chargesheeted as per the revelation made by the victims.
"It is denied that the CBI is trying to shield the real perpetrators or that the leads given by victims regarding role of outsiders was intentionally not probed," it said, adding that officer of social welfare department of Bihar has also been chargesheeted in the case.
The petitioner has claimed in her application that the CBI was trying to "shield the real perpetrators" and has intentionally avoided to investigate the leads given by the victims about the outsiders and alleged friends of Thakur who were involved in the offence.
The petitioner also claimed that victims have stated in their statement to CBI that they were sent to hotels and were also raped by outsiders and friends of Thakur who visited the shelter home.
The apex court had in February transferred the case from Bihar to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Saket District Court complex in Delhi.
On November 28 last year, the top court had directed the CBI to conduct probe into allegations of physical and sexual abuse of inmates in 16 other shelter homes in Bihar which were flagged in the TISS report.