Minister named accused in Bhanwari Devi case

The Jodhpur police on Saturday registered a case of rape, murder and criminal conspiracy against Mahipal Maderna.

Zeenews Bureau

Jodhpur: The Jodhpur police on Saturday registered a case of rape, murder and criminal conspiracy against state Water Resources Minister Mahipal Maderna in the case of disappearance of a nurse.

The case against Maderna was registered at Bhilada after a local court ordered the police on Friday to make the minister an accused in the FIR lodged in the disappearance of Bhanwari Devi who allegedly featured in a compromising position with the minister on a CD.

Amarchand, husband of the auxiliary nurse and midwife Bhanwari Devi, had approached the civil court in Jodhpur’s Bilada town on Tuesday accusing the minister of raping and murdering Bhanwari Devi.

“The additional chief judicial magistrate court has directed police to include the minister as an accused and probe his role under Sections 376 (rape), 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code),” Amarchand’s lawyer Paras Chauhan said yesterday.

The lawyer said that when Amarchand approached police after his wife’s disappearance, changes were made in his complaint. “They left out Maderna’s name and first lodged just a missing person complaint,” he said.

On Thursday, the Rajasthan High Court had lambasted the investigating officer in the case and expressed dissatisfaction over the pace of investigations conducted by the police.

The court asked the inspector general of police, Jodhpur range, to appear before it on Monday and submit an explanation for the “disappointing pace” of the investigation.

Amarchand, who has threatened self-immolation, said he had to approach the court as police have failed to find Bhanwari Devi, almost a month after she was reported missing.

Bhanwari Devi’s son Sahil also alleged on Thursday that the minister was involved in his mother’s kidnapping.

“There is threat to our lives also,” Sahil said while staging a sit-in outside the Jodhpur district collector’s office along with activists of some NGOs.

Police have so far arrested a government contractor from Jodhpur’s Bilada area. They had also detained three youths from Sikar district, but let them off due to lack of evidence.

During interrogation, the name of Shahbuddin, a resident of Pipad area here and a mechanic by profession, also came up. He is suspected to be the key link who can lead the police to the woman, but he has not yet been traced, an officer said.

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