In a new twist to the probe into the abduction of Jodhpur's nurse Bhanwari Devi, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday arrested her husband, Amarchand Nat, for his alleged non-cooperation and suspected role in the conspiracy.
The CBI investigators grilled Nat in Jodhpur on Wednesday, but when confronted with queries about his activities on September 1, the day Bhanwari was allegedly abducted, he remained clammed up and even made an abortive bid to escape from the agency's office.
"Amarchand seems to know a lot about the conspiracy, but refused to reveal anything to us," said a CBI official on condition of anonymity. "His conduct is suspicious and could be part of the conspiracy."
Nat came under the CBI scanner due to contradictions in his statements: he allegedly refused to identify Bhanwari's necklace, which the CBI had recovered from a jeep used to abduct her.
He had also allegedly told the CBI that he could not travel with Bhanwari on September 1 to Bilada to collect payment for a car she had sold, saying he had to take his vehicle to a mechanic for repair. "But the mechanic said his shop was shut on the relevant day," the official said.
According to the CBI, the conspiracy to abduct Bhanwari was allegedly hatched by former Rajasthan minister Mahipal Maderna on July 23 when a local television channel broke news of the existence of a sex CD that purportedly featured Maderna and Bhanwari. "In the next three days, Maderna spoke to Sahiram Bishnoi (an accused) 21 times, while Sohanlal, another accused, spoke to Bhanwari 14 times," the official said.
"The suspects offered to buy the CD for R50 lakh. They had also offered to buy her Maruti Swift for a Rs 4.75 lakh."
When Bhanwari went to collect these payments, she was abducted, the official said.