Ex-Rajasthan minister admits links with Bhanwari

Last Updated: Friday, November 11, 2011 - 00:36

Jodhpur: Sacked Rajasthan Minister Mahipal
Maderna was on Thursday quizzed by the CBI here on his alleged links
with missing nurse Bhanwari Devi during which he is understood
to have admitted that he knew her.

Agency sources said Maderna was quizzed for about six
hours and he came out with "valuable information" about the
case and his questioning is likely to continue tomorrow as he
has assured the CBI of his "full cooperation" in the probe.

Maderna was confronted with statements of other suspects,
his call records, details of his meetings with Bhanwari Devi,
Sahiram and other suspects besides some recent recoveries made
by the agency in the case.
The CBI is hopeful that it will get more details from him
tomorrow about the circumstances in which the nurse went
missing, the sources said.

He has admitted that "he knew" Bhanwari and has provided
"valuable information", the sources said, without elaborating.

The questioning of Maderna, who was removed from Cabinet
by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on October 16 after his name
cropped up in the case, came as the CBI prepared to submit
tomorrow the status report on the probe to the Rajasthan High
Court on a habeas corpus petition.

In the plea, Bhanwari`s husband Amarchand had alleged
that she was abducted at the behest of Maderna who denied the
charge.

The call records of cell phones used by Bhanwari Devi`s
kidnappers indicate that suspect Sahiram was in touch with
Maderana until the day she was kidnapped from Jodhpur`s Bilara
area on September 1. The agency suspects that the 33-year-old
nurse was abducted and murdered and her body burnt.

The Rajasthan High Court, which is hearing habeas corpus
petition filed by Amarchand, had asked the CBI to submit
tomorrow the progress report of its probe in the case.

Bhanwari was posted as auxiliary nurse midwife at a
sub-centre in Jaliwada village, around 120 km from Jodhpur.

CBI has seized a camcorder and a computer which may be
holding vital clues about the her disappearance and the agency
has sought help of Central Forensic Science Laboratory as well
as private experts to retrieve the data.

Officials suspect that the camera and computer might have
been used to film and store some controversial footage which
could hold vital clues about the reasons behind the
disappearance of Bhanwari.
The CBI on November 7 had questioned the kin of a
Rajasthan Congress MLA and a suspended policeman in connection
with the disappearance of Bhanwari Devi. The agency had
interrogated Indira Bishnoi, sister of Malkhan Singh Bishnoi,
MLA from Luni.

A few audio clips of purported conversation of Bhanwari
Devi with Sohanlal, one of the accused, and Indira Devi, had
come to light, agency sources said.

Indira had alleged that Bhanwari Devi wanted a
"settlement" with Maderna and she had approached even Pali MP
Badri Ram Jakhar.

In New Delhi, the AICC today said that the investigations
into the case should be allowed to be completed and it will
"not go by media trial" on the issue.

"Since there is an on-going investigation and the matter
is being probed by CBI, it will be appropriate to allow the
investigation to play itself out," Congress spokesperson
Manish Tewari said responding to questions on the issue.

Tewari at the same time made it clear that the "party
does not hold brief for anybody" adding that it will not go
by media trial on the issue.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 12:09

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