Kathmandu, September 14
Although Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa today said the government was committed to bringing the culprit in the Nirmala Panta murder case to book as soon as possible, lawmakers termed the minister’s statement ‘vague’ and ‘unsatisfactory’.
Expressing displeasure over the government’s failure to book the culprit even after 50 days of Nirmala’s murder, the lawmakers condemned the home administration’s move to ‘cover up’ the incident and ‘protect the powerful culprit’.
Addressing a meeting of the House of Representatives, they demanded that the government bring the culprit to book at the earliest, stating that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.
Lawmakers demanded that Dilip Singh Bista, who the police projected as the main suspect but who was later proven innocent, should be compensated.
NC lawmaker Gagan Kumar Thapa said although nobody was authorised to make statements that could influence investigation, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had made ‘controversial remarks’ about Nirmala’s murder in a televised programme.
“I would like to ask the home minister, who requested us not to make statements that could influence the probe, whether he has asked the prime minister why he made such remarks in a TV programme titled Janata Sanga Pradhan Mantri,” said Gagan Thapa.
Referring to probe committee member Birendra KC’s statement that he was threatened by a ‘powerful culprit’ in the course of investigation, NC lawmaker Amresh Kumar Singh demanded that the government make public the ‘powerful culprit’.
Lawmaker Rajendra Lingden expressed surprise over the government’s confusion in the case. “It’s clear that the police official (SP Dilliraj Bista) who arrested a ‘fake culprit’ and projected him as the main suspect knows who the actual culprit is. The government should start investigation from there,” he said.
Home minister, in his reply, said a detailed investigation into the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta was under way and the ministry would take action against anyone found guilty in the course of investigation.
He requested all not to make any comments that might influence the investigation.
The home minister added that the PM had directed the home ministry to complete investigation and bring the guilty to book as soon as possible, and the ministry was working towards that end. “The government is not satisfied with the way the investigation is moving and we’ll not be satisfied until the guilty is brought to book,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on September 15, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.