India

Bhanwari Devi case: Former Indian minister among 13 charged

Bhanwari Devi (Photo: Vyas Aditya)
Image caption Bhanwari Devi's remains were identified through her jewellery

Police in India have charged 13 people in connection with the kidnap and murder of a nurse who disappeared in Rajasthan state last year.

Those charged include former state minister Mahipal Singh Maderna and former Congress party legislator Malkhan Singh Vishnoi.

They are accused of murder, abduction, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence. They deny the charges.

Bhanwari Devi went missing on 1 September.

She was declared dead in January after police discovered a watch, jewellery and bones in a canal which police were led to by a key suspect.

Her son, Sahil, identified the valuables as belonging to his mother.

So far, 17 people have been arrested in connection with the case.

On Wednesday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed charges against 13 of them in a court in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Bhanwari Devi's husband, Amarchand, has been charged with criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and abduction.

After Bhanwari Devi went missing, Amarchand filed a petition in 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 close contact with the nurse.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) says it has evidence that Mr Maderna was in touch with Bhanwari Devi 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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