Kathmandu, November 12

Family members of Nepali passengers killed in the US-Bangla aircraft crash in March last year have claimed that the Nepal representative of the airline company is trying to influence the ongoing court case.

Organising a press meet here today, the family members of the victims claimed that the Nepal representative of the airline company has refused to provide compensation amount they are seeking and resorted to intimidating them to sort the issue out of court.

On November 1, senior advocate Devendra Pradhan, who is representing the airline company, sent a letter to the victims’ law adviser putting pressure to withdraw the case and settle the matter through personal discussion, informed law adviser Amrit Kharel.

“Moreover, advocate Pradhan also claimed that six out of the seven cases would be dismissed by the court during the hearing that was scheduled for November 6,” he added.

However, after receiving the e-mail from Pradhan, the victims’ families had postponed the hearing citing that one of their advocates was unable to attend the hearing.

The e-mail sent by advocate Pradhan and shared with the members of the press today reads, “As you may see that in the event the court proceedings in these litigations are to proceed and these lawsuits (except for Sherya Jha) are dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, plaintiffs most likely will be without a remedy. Further, in the event, plaintiffs are required to deposit the entire court fee of over Rs three million and their lawsuits are dismissed.”

According to Kharel, it is against the law to send such e-mails to the opposition party while the case is subjudice. “If the e-mail is anything to go by, it also raises questions on the credibility of our judicial system because it seems the defendants are aware of the court’s verdict before the final hearing,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bidur Man Shrestha, father of late Anjila Shrestha said, “The airline company is trying to intimidate us saying that we should take the amount they are providing and withdraw the case.”

Families of the seven deceased passengers, who were all pursuing MBBS in Bangladesh, had filed a joint lawsuit on July 31 demanding total compensation of Rs 2.10 billion after the Bangladeshi airline company failed to release the applicable compensation amount.

After that the airline company had offered $50,000 to each victim family. However, the families have refused to settle, seeking compensation that includes study expenses and expected income of the deceased students.