Mahara’s fate rests on our probe: Police

Kathmandu, October 2

Police today claimed that they were conducting an independent, transparent and rigorous investigation into the alleged rape of Roshani Shahi, an employee at the Parliament Secretariat, by Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who resigned yesterday as the speaker.

Senior Superintendent of Police Shyam Lal Gyawali, spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Office, said the incident had been a subject of criminal investigation from the day it happened despite the victim’s refusal to file an FIR and her volte-face from an interview she had earlier given to a news website. “We are treating the investigation as a fact-finding mission with optimum neutrality and fairness,” he told THT.

SSP Gyawali added that police had collected necessary evidences from the ‘crime scene’ in addition to call detail records of Mahara and Shahi, as well as chat history on Viber and other social media. “Refusal to lodge rape FIR by a victim cannot be a reason to halt the investigation. Whether police will arrest the suspect or not depends on investigation findings,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged that had Shahi lodged an FIR it would have facilitated the probe. A police source said initial statement given by Shahi at the crime scene would be taken as the basis of investigation, regardless of her U-turn and calling Mahara ‘a fatherly figure’.

Shahi, who openly accused Mahara of raping her on the day of ‘crime’, turned hostile yesterday.

However, multiple circumstantial evidences might be enough to drag Mahara to the court, the source said.

When asked whether police faced any political pressure to save Mahara, the source said, “Nepal Police always performs its duties and responsibilities in accordance with laws. There is no political pressure either to protect or indict Mahara, as Nepal Police can exercise its jurisdiction independently,” the source added.