Jaipur/Jodhpur, Nov 12: Cracking the whip, Congress tonight suspended sacked Rajasthan Minister Mahipal Maderna, a suspect in Bhanwari disappearance case, from the primary membership of party.
Maderna, who was grilled by CBI for two consecutive days but skipped questioning in connection with the case today citing ill-health, was suspended by Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee(RPCC) President Dr Chandrabahn.
Action against Maderna was on the cards with the RPCC contemplating action after a CD purportedly showing him in a compromising position with Bhanwari, an auxilliary nurse, came into public domain. The controversy involving Maderna has hit the Ashok Gehlot government amid calls by opposition BJP for the Chief Minister's resignation.
Maderna's suspension in an apparent clean up act by Congress came hours after another minister Ramlal Jat resigned in the wake of a media report in which allegations were levelled against him.
The report alleged that Jat, minister of State for Forest and Environment, had tried to pressurise the Bhilwara district administration to conduct post-mortem on a woman in the middle of the night in September.
Paras Devi, wife of the Bhilwara Dairy chairman Ratanlal Jat, died in mysterious circumstances in a hospital, according to the report in a vernacular dialy. CBI continued questioning Congress MLA Malkhan Singh and Maderna's wife Lila for the second consecutive day in Jodhpur in connection with the Bhanwari case.
Lila defended her husband claiming he is innocent and that the CD in question “was fabricated”. Maderna, who was asked to come today for the third consecutive day for questioning, failed to turn up and sent a medical certificate to the concerned CBI officials here, agency sources said today.
After getting the certificate, CBI exempted Maderna from questioning on health grounds.
Malkhan was grilled along with Lila at the circuit house in Jodhpur for nearly six hours, officials said.
Emerging out of the circuit house, Lila, who had yesterday accused the media of trying to target her husband, told reporters the CD in question was aimed at “maligning the legacy of her family by their rivals”.
Lila claimed she does not have any clue of any relationship between Bhanwari and her husband.
“I am saying my husband is innocent. It is a political conspiracy,” However, she said, even if they were in a relationship “it was not an offence and an act of mutual consent”.
A CD purportedly showing Maderna and Malkhan in compromising position with 36-year-old Bhanwari, an auxiliary nurse midwife at a sub-centre in Jaliwada village - around 120 km from here, had come to light after she went missing from Jodhpur's Bilara area on September 1. Her husband Amarchand had alleged she was abducted at the behest of Maderna.