Jodhpur/Pune, (IANS) In two major breakthroughs in the missing nurse Bhanwari Devi case, the leader of a gang suspected to have disposed off her body was arrested in Maharashtra while a man believed to be the owner of a jeep used to dispose the body was nabbed in Rajasthan, police and sources said Wednesday.
Pune police in a joint operation with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Bishnaram Bishnoi in Lonavala, 70 km from Pune.
“Acting on a tip off, a team of crime branch officials raided various locations in and around Pune Tuesday night. In a breakthrough this morning, the officials went to Lonavala where they arrested Bishnaram Bishnoi after raiding several locations,” Pune Commissioner of Police Meeran Borwankar told reporters.
“The court has given a two-day transit remand to Bishnoi, during which CBI officials will take him to Rajasthan for further questioning and investigation,” Borwankar said.
Bishnoi carried a cash reward of Rs.500,000 for his capture.
In Rajasthan, informed sources said the CBI Tuesday arrested Kailash Jakhar, believed to be the owner of the jeep used to dispose of the nurse’s body and destroy evidence, from Jodhpur.
With Jakhar’s arrest, the CBI may have also identified the location where Bhanwari Devi was killed as being near Osian village in rural Jodhpur.
But investigators are unsure where the nurse, who disappeared in September, was burnt to death or dumped in one of the many lime kilns in the area.
“The man who owned the jeep, which was used to take away Bhanwari’s body, has been detained by the CBI. Jakhar is alleged to be a member of Bishnaram Bishnoi’s gang,” sources close to CBI told IANS.
The case has seen the arrest of former Rajasthan minister Mahipal Maderna and Congress legislator Malkhan Singh.
“The location has almost been traced. Further investigation is on,” a source added.
In a chargesheet filed earlier by the CBI, it was alleged that three men kidnapped the nurse from Jodhpur’s Bilara area Sep 1, killed her and then handed over her body to a gang of criminals headed by Bishnaram Bishnoi.
The jeep, sources said, was used in the disposal of Bhanwari’s body after she was allegedly strangled to death by three abductors — Sohan Lal Bishnoi, Shahabuddin and Baldev Jaat alias Balia.
A court had earlier issued an arrest warrant against Jakhar on CBI’s request when the agency failed to trace him. However, the CBI has not yet officially confirmed the arrest.
According to sources close to the investigation, sacked minister Maderna and Congress legislator Malkhan Singh were hand-in-glove in the entire conspiracy as the nurse was blackmailing both of them.
Maderna was believed to be blackmailed on the basis of a CD showing him in a compromising position with the nurse.
The two politicians allegedly roped in a Sahiram Bishnoi, who hired Sohan Lal, Balia and Shahabuddin for the task of kidnapping the nurse.
Maderna, Malkhan, the three kidnappers and Sahiram along with Amarchand, husband of Bhanwari Devi, have been arrested by the CBI. Amarchand is presently under judicial custody.
The CBI has also arrested Malkhan’s brother Parasram Bishnoi as well as Umesharam and Omprakash Bishnoi.