SC reopens hearing on Sobhraj case

KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court (SC) today reopened the hearing on an appeal filed by the jailed international serial killer Charls Gurumukh Sobhraj challenging the verdict passed by Patan Appellate Court to convict him in fake passport possession case.

A division bench of Justices Khil Raj Regmi and Sushila Karki issued the order following today's initial hearing.

Sobhraj had filed the appeal challenging the Patan Appellate Court's verdict in which the court had convicted him on the fake passport possession case.

The Appellate Court slapped a one-year imprisonment term and a fine of Rs 2,000 for the accused. Sobhraj was convicted in visiting Nepal in1975 with the passport of Henricus Bintanja.

But as the Appellate Court convicted him, Sobhraj moved the apex court with an appeal, prompting the latter to take up the case.

Advocate Lokbhatka Rana today sought the apex court's review of the judgement passed by the Patan Appellate Court arguing that the case was decided without adequate evidence.

Along with Rana, advocates Ram Prasad Shrestha, Shakuntala Thapa and Ram Bandhu Sharma have been defending Sobhraj.

However, another group of lawyers, who had been pleading on behalf of Sobhraj, have declined to defend him this time, as conflict ensued with Sobhraj.

Former Attorney General Badri Bahadur Karki, senior advocate Bashanta Ram Bhandari and advocate Raja Ram Dhakal have washed their hands off Sobhraj.

"Since he hired other advocates to defend the case we did not feel comfortable to represent him further," advocate Dhakal said.

"He disregarded our efforts even as we made strategy to defend the case since 2003 when he was arrested here," Dhakal added.