New daughter-in-law, another twist to Santokben saga

The family saga of Porbandar's mafia queen Santokben Jadeja is now beginning to read like a television soap opera. Jadeja now has a new daughter-in-law, Manisha Karavadra, reportedly an old-time girlfriend of her eldest son Kandhal.

Wanted in several cases including a TADA and the Karshan Odedara murder case in Porbandar, Kandhal, 36, had been in the Rajkot District Jail since March 2005. On February 6, 2007, he fled from a Rajkot hospital where he was admitted for treatment of a spine ailment. Recently, the office of the Rajkot Commissioner of Police summoned Manisha as a witness in a departmental inquiry against four constables, who were on duty when Kandhal escaped.

Manisha, a 40-year-old mother of three, has admitted during a police interrogation of going against Santokben's will to tie the knot with Kandhal after the murder of his wife, Rekha in 2006. According to the police, Rekha was murdered by Karan, Jadeja's younger son. He is now lodged in the Sabarmati Jail.

Rajkot Commissioner of Police Sudhir Sinha said Manisha admitted marrying Kandhal and taking vows in a small temple in the same hospital room. Sinha said Manisha was called only for recording her statement for the ongoing department inquiry against the suspended constables.

Sources close to the family now say Manisha's admission is sure to rock the Jadeja clan. Kandhal and Manisha came in touch a decade ago when the latter's husband, a teacher, was going through a serious illness. Kandhal reportedly supported Manisha financially and emotionally during this period and won her over. Manisha later sought a divorce from her husband and now stays with her two sons and a daughter at Porbandar. The two wanted to marry after the murder of Rekha, but couldn't, due to opposition from Santokben.

According to the police, Santokben had chosen the 32-year-old Rekha as her heir and started relying on her to a great extent when her sons were either lodged in jail or were on the run. Rekha used to look after the family's flourishing real estate, transport and mine business, which became a source of envy for Karan, who finally killed her at their home in Rajkot.

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