Patna: Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma on Wednesday resigned over the rape of young girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur but strongly defended her husband despite his alleged friendship with a key accused.
"My husband was innocent yesterday, he is innocent today and will be proved innocent tomorrow," an unfazed Verma told the media.
"But I resigned on moral grounds after media reports of call details revealed that my husband had spoken to Brajesh Thakur 17 times," she said.
She quit after being asked to by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, according to an official in the Chief Minister's Office.
"Manju Verma visited the Chief Minister's residence and met Nitish Kumar for over 30 minutes. After that she resigned," said the official.
Manju Verma expressed her anger over repeated demands for her resignation by the opposition and the media and insisted that her husband Chandrasekhar alias Chandeshwar Verma was innocent.
The Patna High Court is monitoring the CBI probe into the shocking rape of 34 minor girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home, a horror that has caused nationwide outrage.
Although Chief Minister Nitish Kumar earlier defended Manju Verma, he promised at the same time that no one would be spared if found guilty.
"I demand through you (media) to the High Court to bring out CDR (call details record) of Brajesh Thakur and make it clear whether my husband was the only one who was talking to him or there were other people too."
She said action should be taken against all those whose names figure in the CDR.
According to reports, the Minister's husband and Brajesh Thakur, a journalist, spoke over the phone 17 times between January and May this year.
The CBI is reportedly looking into the CDR of Brajesh Thakur's three mobile numbers he was using before being arrested in the case.
Brajesh Thakur has admitted that he used to talk to Chandeshwar Verma on telephone regularly.
Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress leaders have alleged that Manju Verma's husband used to visit regularly the shelter home of Brajesh Thakur where the rapes took place.
The Muzaffarpur case came to light when the Bihar Social Welfare Department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the shelter home conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.