Former ambassador Keshav Raj Jha’s murder shrouded in mystery

Kathmandu, August 21

Frail, underweight and aged 75, Gyanu Thapaliya Jha sits hunched on a floor mat as relatives, family friends and well-wishers visit her elder sister’s house at Baneshwor Heights to console the gruesome murder of her husband, hours before the dawn broke on Monday.

Career diplomat and former Nepali ambassador to France Keshav Raj Jha was found murdered in his bedroom on the ground floor of his bungalow at Babar Mahal yesterday.

Police and family sources said he was stabbed multiple times in the head and chest, near the right and the left collar bones. “The head injuries, apparently caused by multiple stabs with sharp pointed kitchen knife, appeared pretty deep — about two inches or so,” said a police source. “The chest injuries are not that deep, though.”

According to family and police sources, Jha, a diabetic for a long time, appeared to have succumbed to excessive bleeding following multiple stabs. The knife was found stuck on a sweat shirt he was wearing that night.

Gyanu was one of the first to witness the body of her husband in a pool of blood several hours after the cold blooded murder that police believe possibly took place between 12:00am and 2:00am.

Except for what fate had in store for Gyanu, Monday morning was a regular morning. She woke up at quarter past four, took shower and started her daily prayers. “It must have been around 4:45 by then,” she said.

Then, she went to the kitchen, just next to her bedroom on the first floor.

Their house guard-cum-cook working there since about seven years Sanu Tamang — called Kanchha by the family — would normally be in the kitchen by around 6:30 to make tea for the family. Her husband would join them in the kitchen for tea by around 6:45, followed by their dog.

On Monday morning it was just the dog that made it to the kitchen.

“I called him up for tea six or seven times, but he wouldn’t come upstairs, nor respond to my calls. Then, I asked Kanchha to check if he was taking shower,” she said.

According to her, Kanchha said ambassador Jha did not appear to be bathing as the bathroom wasn’t lit up.

She then asked Kanchha to follow her downstairs to her husband’s bedroom. The cook-cum-guard apparently declined at first to follow her to the ground floor. “He came along when I asked him again.”

“When we got downstairs the bedroom door was slightly open, as usual. I pushed the door wide open and strode towards his bed.” To her utter shock, he was badly bruised and in a pool of blood. “I nearly fell unconscious and rushed out of the room.”

She then called her elder sister. “I do not know who could have killed him and why,” she told THT. “Whoever  has done this must be punished.”

For now, she awaits the arrival of her two children — daughter Dr Rajshree Jha from East Timor and son Dr Kiran Raj Jha from Ireland. After that the family will file an FIR.