India

Bhanwari Devi: Clues found in missing Indian nurse case

Bhanwari Devi (Photo: Vyas Aditya)
Image caption Bhanwari Devi has been missing since 1 September

Police in India say they have found crucial evidence in the case of a government nurse who disappeared in mysterious circumstances last year.

A watch, jewellery and bones were found in a canal in Rajasthan state, which police were led to by a key suspect.

Bhanwari Devi has been missing since 1 September. She is presumed dead but her body has yet to be found.

Police said the suspect told them the nurse was killed and her body burnt before being dumped in the canal.

Dharini Misra, spokeswoman for the Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI], told the BBC that a bat which could be a murder weapon has been found in the canal along with part of a skull and teeth.

The CBI also found a watch which Ms Misra said was "very important evidence in the case that we have been waiting for".

Media reports say the nurse's son, Sahil, and husband, Amar Chand, have identified the valuables as belonging to Bhanwari Devi.

Former state minister Mahipal Maderna, legislator Malkhan Singh Vishnoi and Bhanwari Devi's husband are among 11 people arrested in the case so far. All of them deny any involvement in her disappearance.

Breakthrough 'close'

Last week, police arrested two key suspects, Kailash Jakhar and Bishna Ram Bishnoi, in connection with the case, officials said.

They said they were very close to a breakthrough.

After Bhanwari Devi went missing, her husband filed a petition in the Rajasthan high court alleging that his wife was kidnapped at the behest of Mr Maderna.

The court ordered the minister to be formally accused after footage emerged that reportedly showed him in contact with the nurse.

The CBI says it has evidence that Mr Maderna was in touch with the nurse around the time of her abduction.

The case, initially investigated by Rajasthan police, was handed over to the CBI after the high court criticised state police for "going slow" and accused the state government of acting to try to save the politician.

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