Kathmandu, October 31
The Government Attorney’s Office, Kathmandu, today filed a charge-sheet against former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara at Kathmandu District Court charging him of attempt to rape.
Parliament Secretariat staffer Roshani Shahi had lodged a first information report on October 4 accusing Mahara of attempt to rape. As the Government Attorney’s Office filed the charge-sheet late in the afternoon, KDC could not conduct his trial hearing today. It has been scheduled for tomorrow.
If convicted, Mahara could face a jail sentence from five years three months to maximum seven years six months as per existing laws. Attempt to rape crime carries a jail sentence between 3.5 and 5 years. But government attorneys invoked additional clause of the new penal code seeking additional punishment as Mahara allegedly committed the crime misusing power.
Joint attorney of Kathmandu District Attorney’s Office Chandra Kanta Khanal said Mahara’s case attracted Criminal Offence and Punishment Determination Act. Clause (e) of Section 15 (2) of the act states that the quantum of punishment for any crime a person holding a position in government office, public or corporate body commits by misusing power shall be increased 1.5 fold.
Mahara was arrested on October 6 after Shahi lodged an FIR accusing him of attempt to rape. Shahi said Mahara thrashed her before attempting to rape her on the night of September 29, at her rented room in Tinkune. Even though Shahi retracted her statement, police completed their investigation saying they had enough evidence to corroborate the victim’s accusation.
Mahara resigned from the post of speaker after the ruling NCP asked him to resign as both speaker and Member of Parliament.
Mahara has been in police custody since October 6. He was admitted to Norvic Hospital while in custody after he complained of hypertension and respiratory problems.
Police had, on October 27, submitted their investigation report to the Government Attorney’s Office, Kathmandu, after 20 days of investigation. The latter, however, waited for the Tihar festival to get over before filing the case.
A few days ago, Shahi filed an application at the KDC saying police had coerced her into filing the FIR against Mahara.
On September 30, Shahi told www.hamrakura.com that Mahara had raped her, but a day later, she retracted her statement and told another online portal that what www.hamrakura.com reported was false. She had told www.hamrakura.com that Mahara had come to her room with a bottle of whisky and beat her up before sexually assaulting her.
According to a police source, Mahara’s statement was that though he was near Shahi’s residence on September 29, he did not enter her apartment or do anything to Shahi.
Mahara was taken back to police custody after the charge sheet was filed. Hearing on the case will be held tomorrow.
Meanwhile, it has been found that police investigation does not include Mahara’s DNA test. Police had said they would conduct Mahara’s DNA test if necessary, but Mahara did not oblige the police stating it violated his right to privacy, as per police sources.
A version of this article appears in print on November 01, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.