Supreme Court issues notice to CBI in Bhanwari case

Indira Solanki & Ors. Versus State of Rajasthan & Anr T.P.(CRL.) NO(s). 227 OF 2012 Bhanwari Devi, a nurse who lived near Jodhpur, disappeared from near her home in September 2011. Four months after she went missing, her remains were found by police divers in a canal around 100 km away from Jodhpur. The Petitioner Indira Solanki said in her plea that "The political patronage is so obvious that when the accused persons tried to avoid arrest by having himself admitted to a hospital it was the State Chief Minister himself who visited the hospital to meet the accused. Thus it is clear that no free and fair trial can proceed in the State of Rajasthan and therefore the request is being made for transfer of the case to Delhi or any other State," petitioner Indira Solanki said in her plea. The case has seen some high-profile arrests. The 36-year-old nurse had alleged affairs with political leaders including Congress leader and former Minister Mahipal Maderna. Bhanwari was reportedly blackmailing him with a sex CD. Maderna, who was forced to resign after she went missing and her liaison with him became public knowledge, has been arrested. Another Congress leader and Luni MLA Malkhan Singh, who reportedly introduced Bhanwari to him and was also arrested. The Supreme Court issued notice to the CBI and the Rajasthan Government on a plea for transferring the trial of the Bhanwari Devi murder case out of the State and to the national Capital. A Bench of Justices T. S. Thakur and F. M. Ibrahim Kalifulla also sought replies of all 17 accused, including sacked Minister Mahipal Maderna and Congress MLA Malkhan Singh Bishnoi, in the case on the plea by victim's sister for transfer of the trial out of Rajasthan. Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves and advocate Shreeji Bhavsar, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the accused in the case are powerful and influential politicians who would not allow free and fair trial in the State.