Patna: It was a tough day for investigators in the Muzaffarnagar shelter home scandal as they got an earful from the Patna High Court. Continuing the hearing in the case on Monday, the high court even questioned the choice of the police chief who was overseeing the case, said a leading portal on Tuesday. The court asked how this case could’ve been given to an officer who already held the charge in the cities of Lucknow, Patna and Ranchi. It is also likely to put some guidelines in place vis-a-vis coverage of the case by media, said the report. (Also read: Tejashwi Turns Heat on, Says JDU Shielding Culprits)

The case pertains to sexual exploitation of over 30 minor girls. The enormity of the crime took it to the Supreme Court as well which issued notices to the Centre and the state government. The charge-sheet points at a nexus among police, administration and politicians. The racket was reportedly on for about four years. The court also sought an explanation from the CBI on why the investigating officer in the case was transferred. (Also read: FIR Against Ex-minister)

On why an official already holding the charge of three cities “should be put in charge of a sensitive case,” the CBI said there was a shortage of officers of Superintendent of Police rank. At which, the court said, “This case has to be investigated at the earliest… you can post anyone, but he should not be in-charge SP”. The court also said there were concerns about the reportage of the case benefitting the accused and that it could impose “reasonable restrictions if required in larger public interest”.  “I’m not against freedom of speech and media… (but) there should be no media trial … accused should not be benefitted in advance by media reports, which we are apprehensive about,” said Chief Justice MR Shah, as quoted by the portal.

Last week also, the court had pulled up the CBI for failing to submit its report on time. A few months ago, Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences had uncovered the case in which over 40 inmates have allegedly been sexually exploited. As many as 11 employees of the shelter home were arrested, including prime accused Brajesh Thakur, and further investigation is being carried out by the CBI.