Krishna Bahadur Mahara cleared of attempt-to-rape charge

KATHMANDU: Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who was charged with attempt-to-rape by a parliament secretariat staffer, has been cleared of all charges, today.

Kathmandu District Court acquitted Mahara on the grounds of insufficient evidence to prove the charge levelled against him and decided to release him from detention. He will be released today itself after staying in custody for over 100 days, a large portion of which he spent in Thapathali-based Norvic International Hospital. A single bench of Justice Ambar Raj Poudel handed down the verdict.

The District Court's Information Officer Gyan Bahadur Karki told THT Online that the court took a decision to this effect today.

Mahara was the Speaker of the House of Representatives when he landed amid the controversy and the ruling party asked for his resignation, which he tendered albeit initial hesitance. The federal parliament employee had filed a First Information Report (FIR) on October 4 accusing Mahara, also a Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader, of attempting to rape her on September 29 at her rented apartment in Tinkune, Kathmandu.

The first high profile politician to be tried for sexual assault allegation, Mahara was arrested on October 6. He was remanded into judicial custody in Dillibazaar prison on November 4. Mahara moved the Patan High Court challenging the District Court's order on November 21. The High Court, however, rejected his plea upholding the original decision.

The final hearing was conducted on Sunday and a verdict was expected on the same day. However, it was put off till Monday.