Rautahat, November 13
At a time when the trial hearing on the case of Nepali Congress leader Mohammad Aftab Alam is under way, an audio recording between Alam’s supporters and a family member of Oshi Akhtar — one of the victims who died in the infamous Rajpur blast — to change the statement, has created quite a stir.
The 37-minute audio recording has two of Alam’s loyalists promising Rs 500,000 and five kattha land to Oshi’s family in return for changing the statement, and admonishing the victim’s family to keep the bargain secret, offer accepted or not.
Further, when Oshi’s family member rejects the offer, Alam’s side tries to convince him, saying, “You’re only focused on the money. Why can’t you see you’re also being offered five kattha land, which will fetch up to one-and-a-half million rupees?”
In the audio, Alam’s side has clearly pressurised the victim’s side not to drag Alam into the case by implicating him.
“You’re not going to gain anything by implicating him in the case. If he is freed, it will be good for the community and our place. We must forgive him this one time,” Alam’s side is heard saying, to which the victim’s family member asks if they would forgive him if their own brother had died. “Again. he (Oshi) hadn’t gone there of his own will. He was taken there,” the person representing the victim’s side says.
In response, Alam’s supporters admonish the person against arguing and suggests that the person give good advice to Oshi’s father. “Tell him to do whatever will be good,” they can be heard saying. “The tiger is in the cage today for his mistake. We’re ants in front of him. You help him this time,” they say.
Again Alam’s side says, “Whether he (Alam) is free or not, his (Oshi’s) wife must disavow the incident. She must say that she doesn’t know anything, and everything is made up. She must say that she knew about the incident only from her mother-in-law.”
When Oshi’s family member responds to this, saying, “I don’t say anything now. You can do whatever you want after the court proceedings are over,” Alam’s side responds with threats. “Anything could happen to any of you. Maybe a motorbike will hit you or anything. There are many ideas, you know.”
Upon being threatened, Oshi’s family member seems to have become alert. He asks for increase on the offer in exchange for changing the statement at the court.
Then Alam’s side accepts the demand and asks the other side to believe in them and their word, saying they can’t commit anything of that sort to paper.
While rounding up the bargain, Alam’s side can be heard advising the victim’s side not to listen to others and stressing that the matter must be resolved at all cost, to which the victim side shares the fear that police might arrest them.
Alam’s side then assures the victim’s side, saying they wouldn’t have to fear the police.
“You have to just say, when in front of the judge, that you don’t know anything. That’s all. The only thing the court values is the judge, not the media,” they say.
The audio tape between Alam’s side and the victim’s side is safe with THT.
A version of this article appears in print on November 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.