Bhanwari Devi case: Accused refuses to record statement

In a major setback for the CBI, one of the main accused arrested on charges of hatching the conspiracy to kidnap and murder nurse Bhanwari Devi refused to record his statement before a magistrate here Tuesday, sources said. 

Sahiram Bishnoi moved an application in the court of an additional chief judicial magistrate and alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) threatened him to get his statement recorded under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The investigating agency in a chargesheet filed in a court earlier had said that Sahiram played the role of mediator between the main conspirators and the executioners. 

It was alleged that sacked Rajasthan minister Mahipal Maderna had hired him to eliminate Bhanwari who was allegedly blackmailing the minister on the basis of a CD showing them in a compromising position. 

"The CBI had recorded his statement under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in January to confirm that he had played the role of a mediator," sources close to the CBI told IANS.

"He moved an application in the court on Tuesday requesting that his statement should not be read during trial," the sources said. 

It is alleged that three kidnappers -- Shahabuddin, Sohan Lal and Baldev Jat alias Balia -- kidnapped Bhanwari from Bilara in Jodhpur rural Sep 1, killed her and handed her body to a gang of criminals headed by Bishnaram Bishnoi who burnt her to ashes and dumped her remains in a canal.

The case has seen the arrest of Maderna and Congress legislator from Luni constituency Malkhan Singh. According to sources close to the CBI, Maderna and Malkhan Singh were hand-in-glove in the entire conspiracy as the nurse was blackmailing both of them.

The two politicians allegedly roped in Sahiram Bishnoi, who hired Sohan Lal, Balia and Shahabuddin for the task of kidnapping the nurse. The three kidnappers, Sahiram Bishnoi and Amarchand, husband of Bhanwari, have been arrested by the CBI. Amarchand is in judicial custody. The investigating agency also arrested Malkhan Singh's brother Parasram Bishnoi.

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