BHOPAL: The Rajasthan Police’s anti-terrorism squad (Raj ATS) on Friday, after four-months of sustained tracking, arrested the alleged mastermind in the 2011 ANM Bhanwari Devi abduction-murder case from Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas district.
Indira Bishnoi (55), who masterminded the controversial auxiliary nurse midwife’s (ANM) abduction and murder in September 2011 had a bounty of Rs 5 lakh on her head announced by the CBI since 2012. The local court in Jodhpur had also declared Indira Bishnoi an absconder in the case in April 2012.
Indira Bishnoi is the sister of co-accused in the case and former Congress MLA from Luni (Rajasthan) Malkhan Singh Bishnoi, who along with former Rajasthan minister Mahipal Singh Maderna were arrested in 2011.
They are among 12 accused, including Indira Bishnoi’s brother Parasram, lodged at Jodhpur Central Jail.
The CBI probe of the case revealed that it was Indira Bishnoi who had masterminded ANM Bhanwari Devi’s abduction and murder, whose sleaze CD featuring then Rajasthan minister Mahipal Singh Maderna had leaked in the public domain, causing major political embarrassment to the then Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan.
Mahipal Singh Maderna was subsequently dropped from the Ashok Gehlot council of ministers. The ANM, Bhanwari Devi, who had a daughter from an illicit relation with Malkhan Singh Bishnoi was trying to extort money and property from both ministers.
In response to this, accused Indira Bishnoi conspired with Maderna and her brother to abduct and murder Bhanwari Devi.
Confirming Bishnoi’s arrest on Friday, superintendent of police (SP Raj ATS) Vikas Kumar told the New Indian Express on Saturday that Bishnoi, absconding since December 2011, was arrested from a house near the banks of river Narmada.
She was living at Harda with members of the Bishnoi community hailing from Jodhpur. However, she was nabbed by the waiting ATS from an ashram in Nemawar, where she had gone to attend a satsang.
“She was living the life of an ordinary person and not openly using any cell-phone or other communication device,” said Kumar.
“Our team was tracking Bishnoi since the last four-months and finally arrested her on Friday. She will be produced before the local Jodhpur court on Saturday,” added Kumar.
According to sources the ATS, Bishnoi was in contact with family members, including Malkhan Singh Bishnoi through a three-layered network of intermediaries.
She contacted kin, including Malkhan Singh, even during the latter’s court appearances through intermediaries via secret codes.
Indira Bishnoi was managing her family’s business empire, spread Bilhada in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan, from Dewas via trusted aides and intermediaries.
The empire worth several crores comprises major business stakes in agricultural and export oriented handicrafts sector.
The other accused include Bishnoi’s other brother Parasram Bishnoi and Bhanwari Devi’s husband Amarchand.