Absconding murderer arrested from Birtamod after 15 years on the run

BANIYANI, JHAPA: Police have reportedly arrested an absconding murderer of a Bhutanese refugee after 15 years and five months on the run.

Police arrested Bhim Bahadur Bhattarai of Ambegudin in Sirijangha Rural Municipality-2 of Taplejung district, currently residing in Khudunabari, Arjundhara Municipality-3 of Jhapa district.

Bhattarai hacked Santa Bahadur Adhikari of Khudunabari Camp Sector Hut No. 31 to death, on March 10, 2002, according to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Keshav Kumar Thebe of the Area Police Office.

Following the incident, Bhattarai was arrested from Mukti Chok of Birtamod Municipality-4 in Jhapa district on July 26.

DSP Thebe was quoted in Rastriya Samachar Samiti as saying that Bhattarai was sought by police under the fugitive search campaign. "We were successful in capturing him after receiving a tip-off that the convict was in Birtamod," he added.

Meanwhile, the arrested has been remanded in judicial custody and further investigation is underway, police informed.

How refugee was killed

On the night of March 10, 2002, Bhim Bahadur Bhattarai (38) aka Bhupendra took a dosage of intoxicant after buying a khukuri (Nepali traditional knife).

On the way to home, he had asked for a torch light to the guard of Khudunabari Camp Sector Santa Bahadur Adhikari. When the guard denied lending him the torch light, a dispute rose between the duo at around 9:30 pm.

Over the dispute Adhikari charged on Bhattarai.  In fit of rage under the influence of the intoxicant, Bhattarai dragged the guard 20 metres away to Sukhanikhola, a rivulet in Khudunabari of Arjundhara Municipality-3 and brutally struck him with Khukuri on his head, shoulder and other parts, fatally injuring him. Subsequently, he threw the khukuri in the rivulet and ran away.

He was arrested after a tip-off to police that the fugitive had been staying at home shortly after visiting various countries Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam to evade the punishment, police informed.