Guest Post

Key conspirator in Rajasthan sex scandal case questioned and let off

Sunil Gurjar Bhanwari Devi
Sunil Gurjar Bhanwari Devi

The Bhanwari Devi sex scandal case continues to be one of the more depraved acts of a group of individuals. A young nurse was exploited and changed hands among a large number of powerful politicians and bureaucrats for an extended period of time. She was later murdered and after the public fall out of the case, an investigation into the entire incident revealed the hand of multiple individuals including a minister of the government at that time. When the case was taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the minister was sacked due to his refusal to quit. As the investigations progressed, the role of multiple individuals in the case was revealed.

The role of the husband of the deceased, the role of a contract gang in the abduction and subsequent murder, and the role of individuals who laid the trap came out in the open. As investigations gathered pace, most of those who were directly or indirectly link to the crime where questioned, some were arrested, while some were let off. However, the investigations revealed a key conspirator. As details and phone recordings came out in the open, the role of an individual came into focus. Sunil Gurjar is alleged to have not only played a role in the crime but was apparently one of the main people involved in distributing the contents of the video CD.

As authorities dug deeper into the records and interrogated the accused, it emerged that this Sunil Gurjar was in possession of the CD one year before it was actually circulated. This essentially meant that Sunil Gurjar was probably instrumental in the making of the sleaze CD. There have been reports of allegations doing the rounds for quite some time that he was responsible for circulating the contents of the CD among the public and with media houses. It emerged that this could have been done with the intention of helping a detractor of the minister. Politics has strange bedfellows, it is highly likely that Sunil Gurjar may have done this at the behest of other powerful politicians who wanted to expose the minister. By exposing the activities of the minister, the cabinet berth automatically becomes vacant, offering an opportunity for others. This is precisely what happened in the case of Mahipal Maderna. As the contents of the CD and the disappearance of Bhanwari Devi built pressure on the government, Mahipal Maderna was asked to quit. On his refusal to quit he was sacked as a minister.

When the details of the role of Sunil Gurjar emerged from custodial interrogation and investigations, the Central Bureau of Investigation made preparations to issue a lookout notice. This was in an effort to trace Sunil Gurjar and question him about his role and complicity in the case. He was questioned multiple times and finally let off due to insufficient evidence. It is interesting to note that state police forces when conducting any investigation are more likely to arrest all the accused who are either directly or indirectly involved in the commission of any crime.

However, in the case of the country’s premier investigating agency, individuals who are accused of specific offenses or role in the conspiracy are typically arrested only when there is proof that the agency feels evidence is strong enough. It may be a different fact that the individual is actually involved in a crime, but the lack of evidence will go in favor of the accused. This is because cases that involve multiple individuals who are co-conspirators in a common conspiracy are contested by brilliant defense attorneys who punch holes in the prosecution, by showing a weak link in the investigation and case.

Sunil Gurjar probably benefited from this loophole and continues to enjoy immunity from arrest due to his ability to cover his tracks. He purportedly claimed that he was not a part of the conspiracy, and also claimed that he was close to Mahipal Maderna. He claimed that he was one among the individuals who had warned Maderna about the existence of a CD. In one of the telephonic conversation that was recorded, Bhanwari Devi repeatedly talks about meeting a powerful man from Delhi who had negotiated for settling the blackmail. He reportedly offered the deceased a huge sum of money in return for buying her silence on the issue. It is reported that liaison between the power broker from Delhi and the victim was the handiwork of Sunil Gurjar.

This apparently indicates the role of Sunil Gurjar in multiple areas of the crime. He was allegedly involved in the making of the CD, he was reportedly responsible for spreading the contents of the CD, he has been accused of facilitating discussion between the victim and a power broker from Delhi. It has also been rumored that the whole discussion angle was intended to make her feel comfortable and reassured, following which the plan to trap her may have been laid. If this is indeed true, then Sunil Gurjar can also be held responsible for being a part of the larger conspiracy.

However, he continues to lead a near-normal life, without the fear of imprisonment. In fact, he is also alleged to have defrauded many innocent and gullible individuals of their money by offering consultancy and assistance in securing jobs. While that is an entirely different case with different allegations being leveled against him, it indicates that he is not a newcomer to criminal activities. The fact that he has been alleged to have been involved in massive fraud with a large number of gullible and innocent victims from economically weaker sections of society, shows his desire for earning illicit wealth. It is highly probable that he had aspirations to go up the organisation ladder or to make a quick buck by involving himself in making out the video CD and distributing it.

The case which hogged the headlines of newspapers and prime time of television was one of the reasons behind the fast-paced investigations. Without the outrage of media and among the public, it is hard to imagine people like Sunil Gurjar even being questioned for complicity in a crime. The hope of law-abiding Indian citizens will be to see higher conversion rates in cases involving powerful individuals who have exploited gullible victims.