Pokhara, April 17
Tourism entrepreneur Sudar Kumar Shrestha of Kaski, who stands accused of raping a minor, has been freed on bail.
According to Registrar Loknath Parajuli of Kaski District Court, a single bench of judge Lalkaji Shrestha issued the order to release the accused rapist today following a two-day trial starting yesterday. Shrestha posted 500,000 rupees in bail for his release.
After arresting him on March 22, the police, following investigation, had registered a charge-sheet against Shrestha through the District Administration Office, seeking a prison sentence stretching up to 12 years, along with compensation to the rape victim.
While Advocate Bhuwan Parajuli and District Attorney Guru Prasad Wagle had argued on behalf of the prosecution, senior advocate Raman Shrestha, Krishna Bahadur Thapa, Yogendra Bahadur Adhikari, Rohitraj Bastola, Surendra Thapa Magar, Govind Poudel and Milan Kumar Rai had argued on behalf of the accused.
As per the provision in the penal code, sexual contact established with a girl below the age of 18 is considered rape, even if the intercourse happens with consensus of both sides.
The victim aged between 17 and 18 from Chitwan was working as a domestic help at a home near Kantipur Hotel in Lakeside for long.
The victim, who is said to have been exploited for long as per the charge-sheet, has accused Shrestha of sweet-talking her into sex. According to her, she was last raped by Shrestha on March 10.
Another person Subas Subedi, who was also accused of abusing the same girl and was picked up the same day as Shrestha was arrested, is already out on bail.
A version of this article appears in print on April 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.