Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

Saga of sex, lies, and a video tape

- Rakesh Goswami and Di­nesh Bothra htraj@htlive.com

TO­TAL RE­CALL A 37­yr­old mid­wife gets greedy and re­leases a sex tape, a plan to silence her de­stroys the po­lit­i­cal ca­reers of 2 in­flu­en­tial Jodh­pur fam­i­lies

Six years after the Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) closed the probe into Bhan­wari Devi mur­der case fil­ing three chargeshee­ts, the ar­rest of In­dra Bish­noi by anti-ter­ror­ist squad of Rajasthan po­lice on June 2 brought the case back into lime­light.

The kid­nap and mur­der of 37-year-old aux­il­iary nurse mid­wife Bhan­wari Devi of Jodh­pur jeop­ar­dised ca­reers of two po­lit­i­cal heavy­weight fam­i­lies of the Jodh­pur re­gion – the Mader­nas and the Bish­nois.

The pretty gov­ern­ment nurse, posted at a health sub-cen­tre, was close to both fam­i­lies.

She had il­licit re­la­tions with Malkhan Singh Bish­noi, who in­her­ited his fa­ther Ram Singh Bish­noi’s po­lit­i­cal legacy in Luni and was elected as an MLA in 2008. It later revealed dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mur­der case that Malkhan Singh is the bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther of her youngest daugh­ter. (Bhan­wari Devi had three chil­dren.

When Mahipal Maderna, who stepped into the po­lit­i­cal shoes of his fa­ther, Paras Ram Maderna, got elected as an MLA from Osian and be­came a min­is­ter in the Ashok Gehlot gov­ern­ment, the nurse de­vel­oped il­licit re­la­tions with him, too.

Ac­cord­ing to the CBI charge sheets, Bhan­wari Devi made sex tape of her with Maderna with the help of Bish­noi’s sis­ter, In­dra. She (In­dra) had a po­lit­i­cal plan – she wanted to de­fame Maderna with the sleaze tape and see him re­moved from the min­istry. She thought Maderna’s re­moval will cre­ate space for her brother, Bish­noi, in the cab­i­net.

CBI said Maderna’s mo­tive for killing Bhan­wari was this tape.

For Bish­noi, the mo­tive was the nurse’s threat to an­nounce dur­ing a com­mu­nity gath­er­ing on Septem­ber 7, 2011, that he was her daugh­ter’s fa­ther. The nurse wanted Bish­noi to prom­ise that he would marry off their daugh­ter with the same pomp and show he had or­gan­ised the mar­riage of his daugh­ter. She wanted the Luni leg­is­la­tor to give at least 20 kg of gold and spend at least Rs 50 lakh on their daugh­ter’s wed­ding.

The daugh­ter was only seven in 2011 but Bhan­wari Devi wanted money for her wed­ding.

Three Bish­noi sib­lings – Malkhan, Paras Ram and In­dra – and sev­eral other mem­bers of their ex­tended fam­ily are fac­ing charges of kid­nap and mur­der in the mur­der case.

In­dra was miss­ing for six years and was ar­rested on June 2 from Mad­hya Pradesh. The other Bish­nois are be­hind bars since their ar­rest in 2011.

The CBI named 17 peo­ple as accused in the case, most of them Bish­nois. Maderna is the only one from his fam­ily fac­ing charges of in­volve­ment in the mur­der.

In 2013 as­sem­bly elec­tions, Malkhan’s mother and Ram Singh’s widow, 78-year-old Am­ridevi con­tested on Congress ticket from Luni, and lost. In Maderna’s po­lit­i­cal back­yard, Osian, the party did not give ticket to his fam­ily mem­bers.

The nurse who mis­used the po­lit­i­cal clouts of the two fam­i­lies in her life de­stroyed them in her death. First ChArgE sheet filed on De­cem­ber 2, 2011 named So­han Lal, Sha­habud­din and Kumb­haram alias Baldev. SEC­onD ChArgE sheet, filed on Fe­bru­ary 29, 2012, against Sahi­ram, Ume­sharam, Mahipal Maderna, Malkhan Singh, Param Ram Bish­noi, In­dra Bish­noi, Amarc­hand, Bishna Ram, Kailash Jakhar, Ashok Bish­noi and Om Prakash Bish­noi

ThirD ChArgE sheet, on April 21, 2012, named Di­nesh Bish­noi, Pukhraj Bish­noi and Resh­maram.

To­tAl wit­nEssEs

CBI ini­tiAlly named 298 peo­ple as wit­nesses. The agency later dropped 97 while five died be­fore they could be ex­am­ined in court MorE thAn 200 have al­ready been ex­am­ined then Rajasthan PHED min­is­ter, roped in Sahi­ram Bish­noi to bro­ker a deal with Bhan­wari Devi to buy out the sex tape.

in­volved So­han Lal, Malkhan Singh Bish­noi’s cousin, to ne­go­ti­ate with Bhan­wari Devi. So­han Lal took 110 lakh from Sahi­ram to give to Bhan­wari but did not pass on the money

re­port­edly wanted to help Maderna be­cause he wanted con­tracts in the wa­ter re­sources de­part­ment; also he wanted to help his cousin, Malkhan, whom Bhan­wari was threat­en­ing to ex­pose. to

kid­nap Bhan­wari was hatched by Sahi­ram,

So­han Lal and Malkhan’s sis­ter In­dra Bish­noi

was tasked with pick­ing Bhan­wari and hand­ing her over to Bishna Ram gang. The gang was tasked with keep­ing her in hid­ing un­til the Bish­noi fair got over

Amarc­hand, was told that he should keep quiet when she goes miss­ing. He got some money for be­ing part of the plan.

killed in the strug­gle to get out of So­han Lal’s SUV when she sus­pected foul play

gang cre­mated the body and dumped the mor­tal re­mains in Ra­jiv Gandhi lift canal Bhan­wari leaves for Bi­lara, is Skid­napped by So­han Lal Bish­noi and Sha­habud­din. Her hus­band Amarc­hand files FIR al­leg­ing kid­nap. So­han Lal Bish­noi ar­rested.

Rajasthan gov­ern­ment an­nounces CBI in­quiry. Amarc­hand files habeas cor­pus in the Rajasthan High Court.

Amarc­hand files a com­plaint in the Bi­lara ACJM court ac­cus­ing Rajasthan PHED min­is­ter Mahipal Maderna of rape, mur­der, and crim­i­nal con­spir­acy.

Court di­rects to in­clude the name of Mahipal Maderna in the FIR lodged by Amarc­hand.

CBI takes over the case, regis­ters FIR.

CBI of­fi­cials ar­rive in Jodh­pur and take the charge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion from the po­lice.

Mahipal Maderna is sacked from Rajasthan Cab­i­net.

Cash re­ward of 1 5 lakh an­nounced for in­for­ma­tion on Bhan­wari Devi; is in­creased to 110 lakh on Novem­ber 15.

CBI files first charge sheet and ar­rests Mahipal Maderna and Paras Ram Bish­noi.

Amarc­hand is held Malkhan Singh Bish­noi is ar­rested.

CBI takes blood sam­ples of Malkhan and the youngest daugh­ter of Bhan­wari for DNA test.

CBI ar­rests Bis­han Ram Bish­noi and Kailash Jakhar, two accused, who had dis­posed of the body of Bhan­wari Devi.

CBI files sec­ond charge sheet.

CBI files third charge sheet. Trial be­gins in the court of ACJM (SC/ST Cases)

Rajasthan ATS ar­rests prime accused In­dra Bish­noi from Bhopal.

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HT FILE Bhan­wari Devi
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