Congress MLA Malkhan Singh, who represents Luni constituency in Rajasthan Assembly, was quizzed by the CBI followed by Maderna at its local office, a day after the former minister admitted to the agency that he knew Bhanwari, who was employed as an auxiliary nurse midwife at a sub-centre in Jaliwada village, around 120 km from Jodhpur [ Images ].
Maderna's wife Lila and Malkan's sister Indira were also called at circuit house in the city for questioning. After two hours of questioning, Indira was taken to the CBI office where she was grilled along with Malkhan and Maderna.
A CD allegedly showing Maderna and Malkhan in compromising position with the 36-year-old Bhanwari, had come to light after she went missing from Jodhpur's Bilara area on September 1. Sources said it is believed that Bhanwari Devi was introduced to Maderna some years back by Malkhan.
Indira had been questioned earlier by the CBI and had told the media that Bhanwari wanted a "settlement of the deal" with former water resources minister Maderna and she had approached even the Pali MP Badri Ram Jakhar.
Maderna, who was sacked from the cabinet by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot [ Images ] on October 16 after his name cropped up in the case, was quizzed for the first time by the CBI on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the CBI filed a status report of the case in a sealed envelope before the Rajasthan high court bench of Justices Govind Mathur and NK Jain in Jodhpur.
The CBI also requested the court to provide a Deputy Inspector General rank police officer to assist it in searching Bhanwari Devi but the court advised the agency to first approach the state government on the issue. However, the court said that if the government does not take any action in this regard the court can interfere.
The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Amarchand, the husband of Bhanwari Devi. Amarchand had alleged that she was abducted at the behest of Maderna who denied the charge. The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled on November 14.
Agency sources had said that Maderna was quizzed for about six hours on Thursday and he came out with "valuable information" about the case.
Maderna had been confronted with statements of other suspects, his call records, details of his meetings with Bhanwari, Sahiram and other suspects besides some recent recoveries made by the agency in the case.
Agency sources said that Maderna and Malkhan would also be questioned on Saturday. After the questioning, Lila Maderna slammed the media and
said, "That recovery of any CD or having relation with someone is not an offence." She said that the CD was prepared by Bhanwari and not by her husband and accused the media of targeting him. Meanwhile, a women's group staged protest in Jaipur [ Images ] over the disappearance of Bhanwari Devi.
The activists led by Pawan Surana, former chief of state's women commission's, demanded the arrest of Maderna, Malkhan Singh and other suspects in the case. The protesters also slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ] for not coming out on the issue.