Former Bihar cabinet minister Manju Verma has been absconding in an arms case. The CBI had recovered a cache of arms from her home.

The Supreme Court today expressed shock after the Bihar Police told it that former Bihar minister Manju Verma could not be traced for over a month. Manju Verma is on the run in a case related to the recovery of ammunition from her home during a CBI raid.

The CBI raid was conducted in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home case in which inmates complained of sexual harassment by its owner.

After Bihar Police told the court that it had failed to trace Manju Verma, Justice Madan B Lokur said, “Fantastic! Cabinet minister (Manju Verma) on the run, fantastic!”

“How could it happen that cabinet minister is absconding and nobody knows where she is? You realise the seriousness of the issue that the cabinet minister is not traceable. It’s too much,” Justice Lokur said.

The Supreme Court bench directed the Bihar DGP to appear before it on the next hearing. It said, “We are quite shocked that former cabinet minister cannot be traced by the police for over a month. We would like the police to tell us that how such an important person is not traceable. (We direct) Director General of Police to appear before us.”

The Supreme Court had also summoned the chief secretary of Bihar to appear in person before the court on November 27 to explain “mismanagement” of shelter homes in the state.

The court took note of news reports that gross mismanagement is taking place in several NGO-run shelter homes. The amicus curiae in the case told the Supreme Court that a TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) report mentioned 16 shelter homes, where instances of abuse were been found.

Earlier, Manju Verma had approached a Bihar court last week seeking protection from being declared an absconder. She is facing arrest in the Arms Act case after recovery of a huge cache of ammunition from her residence.

Manju Verma had to resign as the social welfare minister from the Nitish Kumar cabinet in August after reports suggested “close links” between her husband Chandrashekhar Verma and prime accused Brajesh Thakur in the Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal.

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