Bhanwari murder: minister offered her Rs 50 lakh

Sacked Rajasthan Minister Mahipal Maderna had roped in a police official to strike an agreement with Bhanwari Devi to buy her silence for Rs 50 lakh, but she declined the offer that led to her murder, the CBI informed the special court on Friday.

The trial of the Bhanwari Devi abduction-cum-murder case continued in the ACJM court where all the accused, except Maderna. Maderna has been skipping appearance from the court on health grounds since 26 May. Senior special counsel for the CBI, Ashok Joshi narrated the parleys held by the various accused in the Circuit House here to settle the matter with Bhanwari at the behest of Maderna and Malkhan Singh Bishnoi. Joshi told the court that Maderna had roped in sacked police official Lakha Ram to mediate between him and Bhanwari.

'Lakha Ram was told by Maderna to talk to Bhanwari Devi and strike an agreement with her in return of Rs 50 lakh, that she would not bother him thereafter. But she declined to accept the deal and then the decision was taken finally to eliminate her,' Joshi informed the court.

Lakha Ram was then posted as the Station House Officer of the Osian police station, about 60 km from here. Joshi then described the conspiracy hatched by the accused right from introducing Shahabuddin to Bhanwari, obtaining two SIM cards using the identity of Jai Ram and Sunda Ram, engaging the Bishna Ram Bishnoi gang and convincing Amarchand about the abduction.

'Meetings were held between Sahi Ram and Bishna Ram in Jaloda and after fixing everything with him (Bishna), the conspiracy was given the final shape, in pursuance of which, Bhanwari Devi left for Bilara on September 1 and Bishna Ram left from Jaloda to take her possession from Sohan Lal Bishnoi,' the CBI counsel said.

The trial lasted for a little over two hours in the packed courtroom, after which magistrate of the ACJM (SC/ST cases) court Girish Kumar Saxena deferred the trial till 1 August.

Meanwhile, the Rajasthan High Court rejected the bail plea of accused Dinesh Bishnoi, who had moved his application in the high court after the lower court rejected the same. This was the fifth bail application, which has been rejected by different courts in the case.
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