Nepal | November 28, 2020

Mahara cleared of rape bid slur

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, February 17

Former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who was accused by a staffer of the Parliament Secretariat of attempt to rape, was acquitted by Kathmandu District Court today.

Mahara was released from Dillibazar prison today itself after KDC acquitted him citing lack of sufficient evidence to prove the charge levelled against him.

Krishna Bahadur Mahara being released from Dillibazar prison after Kathmandu District Court acquitted him on Monday, February 17, 2020. He had resigned as speaker of the House of Representatives after a Parliament Secretariat staffer accused him of attempt to rape. Photo: Balkrishna Thapa Chhetri

The decision to acquit Mahara was taken by KDC Judge Ambar Raj Poudel. Patan High Court had directed KDC to adjudicate the case within a month.

KDC Registrar Ananda Prasad Shrestha told THT that the court decided to acquit Mahara as his not-guilty plea was corroborated by the accuser, who told the court that Mahara was innocent. Mahara has told investigators and the court that he was innocent.

KDC is yet to prepare the full text of the verdict.

Shrestha said the bench decided to acquit Mahara also because the forensic report did not clearly state that objects recovered from the alleged crime scene, including broken pieces of spectacles and shoe sole, were Mahara’s.

Moreover, the accuser repeatedly retracted her statement. In a video interview with on September 30, she said Mahara visited her on September 29 without approval, forced her to drink whisky he had brought and thrashed her before attempting to rape her.

Her first retraction of the statement came a day after reported her allegation of rape when she told another online portal that Mahara was a father figure, was innocent and what had published was false.

She later told KDC that police forced her to file a case against Mahara. She had filed an FIR on October 4, accusing Mahara of attempting to rape her on September 29 at her rented apartment in Tinkune, Kathmandu.

Shrestha said the court had the power to punish an accuser for falsely indicting somebody, but in this case the court did not make any observation about the accuser retracting her statement.

Chief of Kathmandu District Government Attorney’s Office Hari Regmi told THT that his office would appeal the KDC verdict after going through the full text of the verdict.

Mahara resigned from the post of speaker in the face of the allegation of attempt to rape after the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) asked him to do so.

Later, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said in a newspaper interview that Mahara erred by withholding parliamentary process of passing the MCC. Today when Mahara was released, his supporters chanted slogans — “repeal the MCC” — outside the jail, referring to US-supported Millennium Challenge Corporation compact programme.

A version of this article appears in print on February 18, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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