Kathmandu, August 8:

The Supreme Court today began a final hearing on the murder case against jailed international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj.

A division bench of Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Top Bahadur Magar will decide on whether or not to uphold Sobhraj’s conviction on the murder case based on which he is serving a 20-year sentence.

The bench has been looking into Sobhraj’s appeal against the Kathmandu District Court’s (KDC) verdict that jailed him.

In today’s hearing, joint-government attorney Yuba Raj Subedi and Sobhrja’s counsel, senior advocate Basanta Ram Bhandari, put forth their arguments before the bench. Subedi urged the bench to examine evidences gathered by government prosecutors. He also requested the bench to take the police statement that reported the murder of American national Connie Jo Bronzich on the Manahara bridge in Kathmandu seriously.

The KDC had slapped a 20-year jail term — known as a life term in Nepal — on Sobhraj on August 12, 2004.

Challenging the verdict Sobhraj had moved the Patan Appellate Court, which also upheld the verdict. He then filed an appeal in the SC.

Sobhraj was arrested in 2003 after this daily ran a front page report on the serial killer living incognito in Thamel.

KDC judge Bishowmbhar Prasad Shrestha convicted Sobhraj of killing Bronich on the basis of circumstantial evidence — Bronich’s bag was found in Sobhraj’s room in Soaltee Hotel in 1975.

In his argument, Bhandari claimed that all documents produced by the authorities had been fabricated. He argued that the KDC had convicted his client on the basis of non-circumstantial evidences as well. He also said that the signature expert, who had tallied signatures, was also not reliable. “Sobhraj’s signature is similar to that of Karl Marx, but we cannot say Sobhraj is Karl Marx,” Bhandari argued.

“Sobhraj’s signature is also similar to mine. Sometimes signatures of two or more persons look like one and, as such, a court cannot convict a person on the basis of signatures,” Bhandari said.