A man, accused in the Bhanwari Devi murder case, escaped from police custody after a shoot-out between his accomplices and policemen at a court in Rajasthan's Jodhpur city Thursday. Another accused was re-captured.
The accused, Kailash Jhakhar, had been brought to the district and sessions court for a hearing of another case related to some land deals few years back, they added.
Jhakhar is accused of disposing the remains of nurse Bhanwari Devi who was abducted and then murdered Sep 1 last year at the alleged behest of sacked state minister Mahipal Maderna and Congress legislator Malkhan Singh Bishnoi.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested Maderna and Bishnoi in the case. It is alleged that Maderna and Bishnoi were being blackmailed by the nurse on the basis of sex CDs showing them in a compromising position with her.
Bhanwari Devi (File pic)
"Some undertrials including two Bhanwari Devi murder case accused - Bishna Ram Bishnoi and Jhakhar - had been brought to the court for hearing in another case related to firing. Jhakhar is a member of Bishna Ram Bisnnoi's gang," a police officer said.
He added that a dozen criminals were already inside the court premises.
"They were armed. As soon as Jhakar and Bishna Ram got off the police vehicle, the criminals opened fire in the air to scare away the policemen. While Jhakhar and all the attackers managed to escape, Bishnoi was caught on the spot," said the officer.
Officials said that a massive search operation has been launched to locate Jhakhar.
Bhanwari Devi had allegedly been kidnapped by three men - Shahabuddin, Baldev Jat alias Balia and Sohan Lal. As per the CBI chargesheet filed in a court, the trio murdered the nurse and then handed over her body to Bishna Ram Bishnoi and Jhakhar who burnt it and dumped her remains in a canal in Jodhpur.
The CBI teams had sent some bones collected from the canal to the forensic examination at the US's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to ascertain whether they were of the nurse. The CBI is awaiting the report from the federal agency.