Nepal | May 25, 2020

Former speaker in judicial custody for attempt to rape

Ram Kumar Kamat
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Kathmandu, November 4

Former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who has been accused of attempt to rape, was sent to Dillibazar prison after Kathmandu District Court decided to remand him to judicial custody till the adjudication of the case.

Roshani Shahi, a staffer at the Parliament Secretariat, had filed a first information report against Mahara, accusing him of attempting to rape her on September 29.

Former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara outside Kathmandu a Court, on Monday, November 4, 2019. Photo: Naresh Shrestha / THT

Kathmandu District Attorney’s Office had filed an attempt to rape case against Mahara at KDC on October 31.

KDC Registrar Ananda Shrestha told THT that Judge Sudarshan Raj Pandey remanded Mahara to judicial custody as prima-facie evidence including the FIR, crime scene deeds, case form, media reports of the case and statements of witnesses went against him.

Although the victim retracted her statement twice, Kathmandu District Attorney’s Office filed an attempt to rape case against Mahara, stating that there was enough evidence to corroborate the accusation against Mahara.

District Government Attorney Uma Kanta Paudel argued, “Applications and FIR are two different things.  When a victim lodges an FIR, she goes to a doctor to get her injuries examined. It must be brought to logical conclusion after investigating the matter. The same is not the case with an application (as the one filed by the victim before police on October 2),” he said. Paudel said the victim’s retraction had no evidential value as she had told the doctors who examined her injuries that she was beaten up by Mahara on September 29.

Paudel told the court that Mahara’s argument that he had gone near the victim’s apartment but returned home without entering her apartment was not credible.

“Defence lawyers have argued that it could be a case of sexual harassment and not attempt to rape. This argument itself proves the fact that Mahara had entered the victim’s apartment and consequently proves the accusation levelled against him,” Paudel added.

He said the kind of injuries Shahi suffered were typical of attempt to rape cases.

In sexual harassment case, the victim faces inappropriate touching and similar behaviour, but in attempt to rape cases, victims are often subjected to violence for resisting the attempt.

Senior Advocate Raman Kumar Shrestha, who defended Mahara, said although the accuser mentioned attempt to rape charge against Mahara in the lower part of her FIR, she mentioned sexual harassment in the main text of her FIR and as such the attempt to rape law should not be invoked against Mahara.

Mahara resigned from the post of speaker when the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) asked him to resign after the victim accused him of attempt to rape.

Mahara was one of the top leaders of the erstwhile CPN-Maoist Centre and was the party’s key negotiator during the Maoist insurgency.

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A version of this article appears in print on November 05, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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