Minister included as suspect in case of missing nurse

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Old 25-Sep-2011
Minister included as suspect in case of missing nurse

Jodhpur: Acting on a court's order, police yesterday included Rajasthan's Water Resources Minister Mahipal Maderna as a suspect in the disappearance of a nurse who had allegedly been seen in a compromising position with him on a CD.
"We received the orders of the ACJM [additional chief judicial magistrate] court yesterday and as per the directions have included the minister as an accused under sections 376 [rape], 302 [murder] and 120B [criminal conspiracy] of the Indian Penal Code," a senior police officer, who did not want to be named, told IANS.
Police said that Maderna will be questioned if it is found helpful in the investigation of the disappearance of auxiliary nurse and midwife Bhanwari Devi late last month. With him named a suspect, pressure is mounting on the minister to step down on moral grounds.
"Maderna was earlier claiming innocence and refused to step down on the ground that he was not even named in the complaint. Now allegations of rape and murder have been officially levelled against him. What excuse does he have now?" Bharatiya Janata Party state unit chief Arun Chaturvedi said. Amarchand, husband of Bhanwari Devi, has approached the civil court in Jodhpur's Bilada town, accusing the minister of raping and murdering his wife.
Amarchand alleged that when he approached the police after his wife's disappearance, changes were made to his complaint.
"They left out Maderna's name and first lodged just a missing person complaint," he said. On Thursday, the Rajasthan High Court criticised the investigating officer and expressed dissatisfaction at the pace of police investigation.
The court asked the inspector general of police, Jodhpur range, to appear in person tomorrow 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 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 told IANS.

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