Mahara’s suspension as lawmaker lifted

Kathmandu, February 18

With his acquittal from the attempt-to-rape charge, the deck has been cleared for former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara to rejoin the House of Representatives as its member.

Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota today apprised the House that Mahara had been officially cleared of all charges. This automatically scraps the suspension he was facing.

The government attorney, however, still has the option of appealing against the Kathmandu District Court’s verdict in the High Court.

For Kathmandu district attorney’s office to decide whether or not to appeal the district court’s verdict, the court has to issue full text of its verdict. Generally, the court gives up to 70 days to appeal from the date of issuance of the full verdict.

According to Spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General Sanjeev Raj Regmi, the district attorney will decide on the basis of the court’s detailed opinion about arguments and proofs presented by the district attorney. “It’s up to the district attorney to decide,” Regmi said.

If the district attorney decides to appeal the verdict in the High Court, the case will be looked after by the high court government attorney’s office. Again, the high court government attorney’s office can decide whether to appeal.

“If the high court government attorney decides not to appeal, the case will then be transferred to the Office of the Attorney General, which will then decide the future course of action,” said Regmi. “Therefore, the process will move forward only after the district court issues the full text of the verdict.”

Registrar of Kathmandu District Court Ananda Prasad Shrestha said the court would issue the full text of the verdict by Friday.

The district court acquitted Mahara on grounds of insufficient evidence and decided to release him from detention. He was subsequently set free from Dillibazaar central prison yesterday right after a single bench of Justice Ambar Raj Poudel issued the verdict.

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 had told investigators and the court that he was innocent.

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.

Mahara had tendered his resignation on October 1 after a Parliament Secretariat employee accused him of attempting to rape her on September 29 at her rented apartment in Tinkune, Kathmandu.