Kathmandu, October 23.
A rape and murder convict, who was arrested in America, was deported to Nepal by Interpol Washington, for implementation of the Supreme Court verdict, according to Nepal Police.
Police took Lilaraj Gautam, 42, into custody upon his arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport on a Turkish Airlines flight today. Gautam of Changragadi-3, Jhapa, was arrested by Interpol Washington on 3 February 2018 and was held in the custody of US police since then. A red corner notice was issued by the Interpol General Secretariat on 28 November 2017 for his arrest at the request of National Central Bureau, Interpol office in Nepal, after the Central Investigation Bureau found him hiding in America. Deputy Inspector General Bishwaraj Pokharel, Nepal Police spokesperson, said three persons, including Gautam, Manoj Khadka and Sitaram Basnet, had gang raped 14-year-old Sandhya Gautam of Chandragadi, Jhapa, and strangulated the victim to death before hanging her from a tree in a forest, near her house, on 15 October 2000.
After she was found hanging from a tree, Raj Kumar Rajbanshi, the victim’s father, filed first information report against the trio at Jhapa District Police Office on 16 October 2000. Jhapa District Court acquitted Gautam, Khaka and Basent of the charges on 6 November 2001.
The Government of Nepal filed an appeal at Ilam Appellate Court, which upheld the district court decision.
The government moved the SC seeking review on the appellate court’s decision to uphold the verdict of the district court. Subsequently, the apex court slapped life imprisonment on Gautam and Khadka and Basnet, along with confiscation of their property on 14 September 2009.
Khadka and Basent were arrested and sent to jail. Nepal Police said Gautam would be required to serve a jail sentence of 19 years and two months after subtracting 10 months he spent in judicial custody from 17 October 2000 to 16 August 2001. Gautam has been sent to Dillibazaar Prison for implementation of the SC verdict.
A version of this article appears in print on October 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.