NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday held CBI Additional Director M Nageswara Rao guilty of contempt of court for transferring the CBI officer, who was probing the Bihar Muzaffarpur shelter home cases.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for Rao stated that the transfer order was issued by mistake and offered an apology.
However, his words did not persuade the judicature from dropping action against him.
The bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh and directed him to sit in one corner of the court till the rising of the court.
The top court observed that Rao transferred the investigating officer AK Sharma despite knowing about the SC’s directions not to change the team.
Rao on Monday admitted that as interim chief of the CBI he committed a mistake in transferring Sharma and apologised to the top court, saying he had no intention to circumvent its orders.
Sharma was probing the incidents of sexual abuse in sixteen shelter homes in Bihar. But he was transferred from the CBI to the Central Police Reserve Force ( CRPF) based on Rao’s orders.
On February 4, the apex court had rapped the CBI for transferring its officer probing the sexual assault case and said it amounted to a violation of its order.
The Supreme Court pointed out this issue while ordering the transfer of the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case from Bihar to a court in New Delhi.
The top court had transferred the case from the Bihar CBI court to a POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Saket trial court and also directed the Saket trial court to conclude the trial within six months.
A bench had asked the investigating agency to file an affidavit giving an explanation.
“Was the cabinet committee which transferred him informed of supreme Court embargo?” CJI had asked.
Rao, who filed an affidavit in response to the contempt notice issued to him on February 7, said he was praying for an unconditional and unqualified apology by the court.
More than 40 minor girls were sexually assaulted over a period of time in the shelter home which was run by state-funded NGO by Brajesh Thakur.
Later, the girls were shifted to other shelter homes in Patna and Madhubani.
Brajesh Thakur is currently lodged in the Patiala jail based on the top court's order on October 25, last year.
The apex court had said that he is an influential man and can obstruct the investigation and directed the transfer of Thakur to an outside Bihar.