Nepal | June 05, 2020

EDITORIAL: A travesty of justice

The Himalayan Times
Share Now:

It is surprising to note that the KDC did not deem it necessary to look into other details of attempt to rape submitted by the police

After languishing in police custody and Dillibazar prison for 133 days, former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara walked free on Monday following acquittal by the Kathmandu District Court (KDC) on charges of attempt to rape a staffer of the Parliament Secretariat. The KDC gave him the clean-chit, citing lack of sufficient evidence to prove the charge leveled against Mahara, who till his imprisonment, was a close confidante of Nepal Communist Party chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal. KDC Judge Ambar Raj Poudel took the decision to acquit him, citing that his ‘no-guilty plea’ was corroborated by the accuser, who, in her deposition, told the court that he was innocent. Earlier, the Patan High Court had told the KDC to adjudicate the case within a month. The KDC passed its verdict in favour of the accused, based mainly on the forensic report which stated it could not establish for sure that the accused had reached her room as the impression of his fingerprints on a glass of whisky and other items could not be analysed. However, the court did not take other clues uncovered at the crime scene, such as a broken frame of specs, statements recorded by his security aides, information obtained in the police control room, mobile message, bruises on the victim’s face and health check-up report as evidences to prove him guilty.

In a video interview with on September 30, the victim had said Mahara visited her room on September 29 without her approval, forced her to drink whisky he had brought and thrashed her before attempting to rape her. However, she retracted her earlier statement with another online portal. She even told the court that she was forced by the police to file an FIR against Mahara on October 4. Her retraction emboldened the case in favour of Mahara. Nor did the court take any legal action against the accuser for retracting her statement. However, the Kathmandu District Government Attorney’s Office is all prepared to appeal at the High Court against the KDC ruling.

Mahara resigned as the speaker on October 1 last year, but not as lawmaker, after the ruling NCP forced him to do so. As he has come clean, he may join the House meeting anytime soon after the Parliament Secretariat received a letter from the KDC to this effect. But the question is: Does he have the morale to take a seat in the front row of the ruling party bench with his head raised high? Although he has been acquitted this time, the High Court and the Supreme Court, which has the power to make a final review of a lower court verdict, could still find him guilty in this case as the KDC has grossly overlooked other evidences submitted by the police. The recent instance is the apex court’s ruling on November 18 last year, quashing the Mahendranagar High Court verdict that gave a clean chit to two persons found guilty by the Baitadi District Court of gang-raping a girl in 2012. The Patan High Court and the Supreme Court may take the statements of Mahara’s security aides, mobile text messages, information received at the police control room and the first FIR lodged by the victim seriously and may quash the KDC verdict in their reviews. Until then, Mahara is a free man, but with a tarnished image.

Wires go underground

The capital badly needs a facelift, and Nepal Electricity Authority’s bid to lay electricity cables underground should help greatly. The Rs 7 billion project began on Monday to transfer cables underground in areas covered by the Maharajgunj and Ratnapark Distribution Centres. Besides doing away with the eyesore, the project is also expected to reduce the risk of accidents caused by electric shocks and automate the distribution system in Kathmandu. It will involve laying 200 km of 11,000 voltage cables and 400 km of 400 voltage cables underground. Simultaneously, other companies will lay 200 km of optical fibre cables in the two areas.

The project has, however, raised concerns if Kathmandu’s roads are not in for more digging and more dust. But it’s good to know that horizontal directional drilling is being introduced that will not require roads to be dug as during the laying of pipes for the Melamchi project. When the project completes in about 20 months, we expect to see the eyesore caused by a jumble of electricity wires and other cables largely gone. The authorities must see to it that no new cables of TV or internet come up in those areas.


A version of this article appears in print on February 19, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Mahakali Hospital isolation ward filled with COVID-19 patients

KANCHANPUR: At least fifteen COVID-19 patients have been admitted to the isolation ward of Mahakali Hospital in Bhimdattanagar Municipality, Kanchanpur district. The isolation ward has a capacity of 20 beds. The hospital has started treatment of COVID-19 since Tuesday. Seven persons — reside Read More...

Nepal govt may declare state of public health emergency as coronavirus cases rise steadily

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population is mulling over proposing to the Council of Ministers to declare state of public health emergency in the country following a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Section 48 (2) of the Public Health Service Act states that if public Read More...

COVID-19 curve flattening in Narainapur

NEPALGUNJ, JUNE 3 The COVID-19 spread seems to have come under control in Narainapur Rural Municipality, Banke, which had emerged as a coronavirus hotspot after a number of people tested positive for the virus here earlier. According to the district’s corona focal person Naresh Shrestha, it Read More...

Frontline workers to get hazard allowance

KATHMANDU, JUNE 3 The Government of Nepal has published ‘Hazard Allowance Management Order for Human Resources Involved in the Treatment of COVID-19 Infection’ in Nepal Gazette for its implementation. The order aims to provide hazard allowance to the human resources involved in the identif Read More...

Kathmandu Medical College sealed

KATHMANDU, JUNE 3 Kathmandu Medical College Teaching Hospital in Sinamangal has been shut for an indefinite period after two of its health workers contracted COVID-19. The hospital’s Medical Director Dr Mukunda Raj Joshi issuing a notice today, informed that the hospital would be closed for Read More...

Prohibitory order imposed in Gulmi, Jumla to contain coronavirus spread

BHAIRAHAWA/SURKHET, JUNE 3 District administrations of Gulmi and Jumla today imposed prohibitory order to contain the spread of coronavirus in these districts. The order will be effective in Gulmi till June 14 and till June 5 in Jumla. Gulmi CDO Bharat Kumar Sharma said the prohibitory orde Read More...

China, coronavirus

Conquering COVID-19 strategic plan released

KATHMANDU, JUNE 3 A new publication ‘Conquering COV- ID-19’ Strategy for Making Nepal Stronger and Resilient – Strategy Exploration Summary has been released here, which states the country is in a unique position to conquer the pandemic and bring more prosperity and well-being to its citize Read More...

Obama steps out as nation confronts confluence of crises

WASHINGTON: Former President Barack Obama is taking on an increasingly public role as the nation confronts a confluence of historic crises that has exposed deep racial and socioeconomic inequalities in America and reshaped the November election. In doing so, Obama is signaling a willingness to sh Read More...