Raut remanded to custody for four days

Kathmandu, January 27

Pop singer Aastha Raut, charged with misbehaving with a cop on duty, was remanded to four days in police custody by Kathmandu District Administration Office, today.

Raut was taken into custody after she surrendered at the Metropolitan Police Range, Teku. She has been accused of behaving indecently with a police constable deployed at Tribhuvan International Airport on January 15.

Raut, who returned from Sikkim last evening, was in the police ‘search list’ since January 19, after police constable Ramita Shrestha filed a case accusing her of indecent behaviour.

Kathmandu CDO Janak Raj Dahal said, “Raut has been sent to four days’ custody after police demanded more time to investigate the case against her.”

On January 15, Raut had posted a live video on her Facebook page, accusing police personnel at the TIA of misbehaving with her during security check. But, a few days after her Facebook post, police made public an audio-less CCTV footage of the security check inside the airport which showed Raut and the female police officer involved in a dispute. A case was filed against Raut after the footage became public.

When the case was filed against Raut, she was in Sikkim. Kathmandu District Administration Office issued an arrest warrant against Raut the same day.

Raut’s parents had visited the police range to tell the cops their daughter was not absconding and she had gone to Sikkim to perform at a musical function there.

Later, police had hinted they would not arrest Raut if she realised her mistake and apologised to the police officer ‘with whom she had misbehaved’.

This morning, when she reached MPR, Teku, she said she was there to help police in their investigation.

“No one is above the law, police are doing their duty and I am here to assist them,” Raut told media persons.

Raut was later taken to Bir Hospital for medical check-up, and then presented at the DAO.

Hari Bahadur Raut, father of the singer, said, “We are working as per the police request and will obey the decision of the court.”

Civil society had criticised the police action saying police were trying to instil fear in the minds of the public to discourage expression of dissatisfaction against the government and authorities. Charan Prasai, a human rights activist, said, “Police cannot arrest any citizen for criticising a government employee if the citizen has not indulged in serious hate speech.”

Senior Superintendent of Police Uttam Raj Subedi head of MPR, Teku, said, “Police had tried to complete the investigation today with the intention of not keeping Raut overnight in custody. However, the legal procedures could not be completed today. Police will be filing a case at the DAO tomorrow when they complete the investigation.”

If found guilty of indecent behaviour, the pop singer can face jail sentence of up to one year or be fined up to Rs 10,000 or both.