Former Bihar social welfare minister Manju Verma, who is evading arrest in an Arms Act case which cropped up in course of a CBI probe into the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal, was on Friday proclaimed an "absconder" by a court which also ordered for attaching her properties. Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Majaul passed the order to this effect invoking sections 82 and 83 of Code of Criminal Procedure.
The court in Begusarai also turned down an application filed by Verma, through her counsel last week, wherein she had pleaded that she was not evading arrest, but "seeking relief as per law" and hence, she may not be proclaimed an absconder.
The case under the Arms Act was registered against the ex-minister and her husband Chandrashekhar Verma at Cheria Bariyarpur police station in the district following recovery of a huge cache of ammunition from their residence in Patna.
The recovery was made by a CBI team which had raided the premises in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse case of over 30 minor girls.
Verma had stepped down as the minister for social welfare in August following reports that her husband had close links with Brajesh Thakur, prime accused in the scandal.
Her husband had surrendered before a court here on October 29, even as the Supreme Court earlier this week rapped the Bihar Police for its failure to arrest Verma, and directed the DGP to appear in person on November 27 if she was not arrested by then.
An embarrassed JD(U), headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, recently suspended her from the primary membership of the party.
Meanwhile, in Patna, DGP K S Dwivedi told reporters that attempts were being made to secure her arrest. We are making tremendous efforts.
He, however, added no time-frame could be given for the arrest of any person wanted in a criminal case.
Though we appreciate the concern expressed by the Supreme Court, we hope to trace her very soon, Dwivedi said.
Meanwhile, opposition parties like the RJD and Hindustani Awam Morcha have accused the ruling party of shielding the absconder.