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New Delhi:

Brajesh Thakur, who was sentenced to life for sexually assaulting several girls at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, has approached the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction in the case.

A Delhi court had in February sentenced Thakur to life imprisonment after he was found guilty under Sections 376 (rape), 376D (gangrape), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 109 (abetment) of the Indian Penal Code.

While challenging the order of the trial court, Thakur in his plea has alleged that the trial court had failed to appreciate that in a case relating to rape, the prosecution must first and foremost establish that an accused is potent and thereby capable of committing the alleged act.

“The said fact needs to be established by the prosecution as a foundational fact without which the entire case of the prosecution will collapse,” the plea said.

“The hurried manner in which the trial was conducted was a flagrant violation of inter alia the right of the appellant to a free and fair trial guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the plea further said.

Thakur, a former Bihar People’s Party legislator, was also found guilty under Section 6 and 17 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Section 75 of Juvenile Justice Act.

The court, however, had acquitted one of the accused.

The case pertains to the allegations that several girl inmates of a shelter home were sexually assaulted. Thakur headed a state-funded NGO named Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, which ran the shelter home.

The matter came to light following an audit report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

Thakur was the prime accused in the case while the other accused were employees of the shelter home and Bihar Social Welfare Department officials.

The case was transferred from Bihar Police to the CBI in July 2018.

The court had on March 20, 2019, framed charges against the accused for offences of criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault against minors.

The case was, however, transferred from a local court in Muzaffarpur to the POCSO court in Saket here last year on the Supreme Court’s directions.

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