That headline should draw a few extra people to the blog. My article in The National today:
It has all the trappings of a Bollywood thriller – a nurse is kidnapped, a sex scandal surfaces, body parts are found in a canal, and two politicians end up behind bars.
The state of Rajasthan has been gripped in recent months by the story of Bhanwari Devi, a 36-year-old nurse who went missing after trying to blackmail two senior members of the ruling Congress party.
Last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation confirmed her death after a search of the Rajiv Gandhi canal in Jodhpur found bone fragments – apparently all that was left after Devi’s corpse was burnt.
The fragments have yet to be confirmed by forensic testing, but the divers also unearthed a wrist watch, a ring and a locket that were identified by her sons.
A wrist watch crops up in another part of the sordid tale. Rumours had been circulating for more than a year of a video-CD showing then-water resources minister Mahipal Maderna, 59, wearing nothing else as he put himself in some compromising positions with Devi.
In a taped telephone conversation that emerged in November, quoted in India Today, Devi is heard saying: “Both the CDs are in a locker at a bank in Ajmer. I will give you the code. If anything happens to me, take the CD out.”
By the time the tape surfaced, something had already happened to her. But it was not until this week, when one of the main suspects, Kailash Jakhar, confessed to disposing of her body, that police began framing murder charges.
Mr Maderna was arrested in December, having already been sacked from the cabinet two months previously as the scandal gathered momentum.
According to a report in the DNA newspaper, citing unnamed police sources, Devi is thought to have demanded Rs 5 million (Dh356,413) from Mr Maderna to stop her from releasing the CD.
She reportedly also threatened another Congress politician, legislative assembly member Malkhan Singh, who she claimed was the father of her youngest child. She said she would announce their affair at a community event in his home town of Bishnoi on September 7.