Rajasthan cops turn handicraft sellers to track CBI's most wanted 'Maa' aka Indira Bishnoi from hideout in MP

A three-member team of Rajasthan ATS, headed by an inspector dressed up in traditional Rajasthani sartorial (turbans, dhotis and mojris) to pose as traditional Rajasthani handicrafts sellers.

Published: 03rd June 2017 03:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2017 05:33 PM   |  A+A-

Matermind behind the 2011 ANM Bhanwari Devi abduction-murder case, Indira Bishnoi (middle) after being handed over to CBI sleuths by Rajasthan ATS in Jodhpur on Saturday | Pradeep Joshi

Express News Service

BHOPAL: The Rajasthan police anti-terror squad (ATS) sleuths turned traditionally clad handicraft hawkers to track the hideout of 2011 ANM Bhanwari Devi abduction-murder case mastermind Indira Bishnoi in Madhya Pradesh (MP).

A three-member team of Rajasthan ATS, headed by an inspector dressed up in traditional Rajasthani sartorial (turbans, dhotis and mojris) to pose as traditional Rajasthani handicrafts sellers.

The ATS team moved around selling craftwork for at least four days in the locality of Harda district of Madhya Pradesh, where 55-year-old Indira Bishnoi had been rendered shelter by Bishnoi community members, who had migrated from Jodhpur to Harda several years ago.

“As we had limited handicraft items from Rajasthan, we priced them very high to avoid making any bulk deals with Bishnoi community members in Harda district, which could have landed us in trouble and possibly compromised our real identity. By moving around posing as handicrafts hawkers from Rajasthan, we managed to make friends with the Bishnois and finally track Indira’s hideout,” superintendent (SP) Rajasthan ATS, Vikas Kumar told the New Indian Express. 

Kumar, who coordinated the entire operation from Jaipur added, “The four-day undercover operation by our cops posing as handicraft sellers helped us locate where Bishnoi was holed up."

Maa is the name the trusted Bishnois in Harda addressed her as. But avoiding a direct confrontation with the Bishnoi community, the Raj ATS sleuths instead of swooping on her hideout in Harda, waited for the “crocodile to come out of the water” as they discovered that ‘Maa’ was slated to attend a satsang at an ashram on the banks of river Narmada in Nemawar town of Dewas district on Friday and Saturday.

“Our team, along with the local Dewas district police waited patiently for Indira Bishnoi to arrive at the ashram for the satsang and finally managed to nab her Friday itself,” said Vikas Kumar.

On the run in the 2011 case being probed by the CBI since December 2011, Indira Bishnoi largely stayed put in Harda district. But primary grilling has revealed that she travelled to Rajasthan several times in the last five-plus years to personally meet kin. She also regularly kept track of the ongoing trial in the Bhanwari Devi murder case.

“She lived in Harda with the help of a three-layered protective group of loyalists, who also worked as intermediaries in MP and Rajasthan to help her manage her family’s diverse business interests in Bilhada (Jodhpur),” said Kumar.

Bishnoi lived a destitute’s life, never openly talking over the phone. She instead used secret codes to communicate with her people in Rajasthan through her intermediaries.

She used codes like Panditji ne kaha hai bagiche se do gulab ke phool tod lao (the priest has asked for two roses to be plucked from the garden). “When we cracked the code it turned out to be an order to her people in Jodhpur to ensure that containers of handicrafts were readied for export,” claimed Vikas Kumar.

Her family has major business stakes worth crores in interests, spanning from agriculture to handicrafts exports. Indira Bishnoi’s messages were communicated to her people, business interests and even two brothers; Malkhan Singh Bishnoi and Parasram Bishnoi, currently among the 15 accused in the case lodged at Jodhpur Central Jail, through secret codes in which she was addressed as Rajkumari, Halvai and even Panditji, sources in the Rajasthan ATS said.

“We spent four months in decoding secret coded message sent by Bishnoi to her people in Rajasthan via messangers. It was difficult to locate her, as she rarely used a cell-phone to connect with interests anywhere. We first located her information network and then managed to track her in Harda, before her arrest from Nemawar,” said Kumar.

“She was handed over to the CBI on Saturday and we’re also preparing a detailed report about our operation, which will also include details about all those who sheltered her in MP, despite fully knowing that she was absconding in the Bhanwari Devi abduction-murder case. The report will be shared with the CBI,” the 2004 batch IPS officer maintained.

A total of 17 accused in the high profile 2011 case have so far been charge-sheeted by the CBI. While 15 of the accused are in judicial custody in Jodhpur, another accused is out on bail. Indira Bishnoi had been on the run since December 2011.

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