Rautahat, November 5

Although Rautahat District Court started recording suspended Nepali Congress lawmaker Mohammad Aftab Alam’s statement today, it could not be completed due to time constraint.

Alam was produced at the court at 10:30am and taken to the bench of district judge Dipak Dhakal at 1:15pm for statement recording, but the same didn’t happen until 3:15pm as lawyers representing Alam demanded they be provided with the copies of the case before the process started. According to government attorney Khanindra Raj Katuwal, statement recording had started only after Alam’s lawyers received copies of the case. The recording lasted for about 45 minutes.

“Before the court closed for the day, the judge asked nine questions about Alam’s identity and whether or not he had lawyers to fight his case, the remaining statement will be recorded tomorrow,” said Katuwal.

Advocate Pusparaj Poudel and Ashik Ram Karki were present on behalf of the prosecutor, while 12 law professionals from different places including Kathmandu had arrived in the district to represent victims of the Rajpur incident free of cost. According to sources, lawyers from outside the district will arrive in Rautahat to argue on behalf of Alam. A charge-sheet has been filed against Alam in connection with the Rajpur blast and the subsequent murders of the injured and witnesses.

As per police recommendation, District Government Attorney’s Office today filed a 39-page charge-sheet at Rautahat District Court. Police had presented an 800-page investigation report, along with recommendation, seeking imprisonment until death or life imprisonment along with confiscation of Alam’s property on the charge of murder. Alam has also been charged with attempted murder and causing explosion. Ten other persons accused in the charge-sheet have been absconding.

They are Mohammad Mahatab Alam, Mohammad Mobin Alam, Shekh Bhadai, Shekh Seraj, Shekh Fajale Haq, Sagir Alam, Shekh Malakar, Gauri Shankar Sah, Badri Sahani and Mukti Sah.

Police have asked the court to issue arrest warrants against them.

According to District Government Attorney Khanindra Raj Katuwal, the prison term against Alam under all three charges add up to 32 years. “If not slapped with imprisonment until death, he will be facing 20 years in prison on murder charge, 10 years more for attempt to murder and an additional two years for causing explosion,” he said.

The police report has mentioned the then Inspector General of Police Om Bikram Rana as a witness in the case. Rana, in his statement recorded with police, maintained that he was informed about the incident and had directed police to punish the guilty as per the law. Police have also got statements of the then central region chief Deputy Inspector General Kiran Gautam and the then government attorney Dhrubamani Gyawali.

The charge-sheet also includes statements that police have recorded from the then inspectors Indra Subedi and Rajiv Basnet, who were posted in Rajpur at the time of the incident.