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Key suspect in Bhanwari Devi case surrenders

Jodhpur, October 22
In a major development, Shahbuddin, the key suspect in the Bhanwari Devi missing case, surrendered before a court here today.
Shahbuddin, carrying a reward of Rs 25,000 on his head, surrendered before Metropolitan Magistrate (Economic Offences) Alka Gupta who is dealing with the CBI cases in the absence of the CBI Magisrate.

A history-sheeter, Shahbuddin is the main accused in the case in which former Rajasthan minister Mahipal Maderna is allegedly involved. Soon after the surrender, he was taken for a medical check-up. After the medical check-up, he was produced before the court which remanded him in CBI custody till October 24.

Two accused, Sohan Lal Bishnoi and Balia, had already been arrested and were in judicial custody. The CBI had interrogated them in the Jodhpur Jail on October 19 and 20, while the fourth accused, Sahi Ram, was absconding.

Shahbuddin was alleged to be the executor of the offence and was being searched after Bhanwari Devi went missing on September 1.

Bhanwari (36) was posted as auxiliary nurse and midwife at a sub-centre in Jaliwada village near here. Her husband Amarchand had alleged she was abducted at the behest of Maderna and his associates. The charges were denied by the former minister.

Maderna was sacked by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on October 16. He was among those named in a FIR after Bhanwari Devi remained absent from duty from August 25, confined herself to her home for a few days and then vanished without trace Sep 1.

Rumours quickly gripped the state that she featured in the CD in a "compromising position" with the minister, who repeatedly denied he had anything to do with her.

Under attack, the Rajasthan government ordered the CBI to take over the case after the Rajasthan Police was pulled up for allegedly not taking on Maderana. Agencies

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