Nepal | November 28, 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 hamrokura.com 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:

KP Sharma Oli, Harsh Vardhan Shringla

Indian foreign secy stresses on close ties between India, Nepal

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 26 India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who arrived here today on a two-day visit, held a bilateral meeting with his Nepali counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal. They reviewed several aspects of Nepal-India relations covering trade, transit, connectivity, infrastru Read More...

Ministry of Home Affairs

Banking channel mandatory for distribution of social security allowance

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 26 The Government of Nepal has made it mandatory for all 753 local levels to distribute social security allowance to beneficiaries through banking channel. A notice recently published by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Nepal Gazette said the provision was stipulated in Read More...

UN condemns girl’s rape, murder

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 26 The UN in Nepal has strongly condemned the rape and killing of a six-year-old girl in Bardibas which was reported in the media. “We urge the relevant authorities to urgently follow due process and ensure that the perpetrator is held accountable,” read a press stateme Read More...

Subway construction in Kalanki

Council of trade unions slams employers

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 26 The Council affiliated to the International Trade Union Federation has called for including workers of the informal and self-employed sectors in the social security scheme. In a joint statement, the three large trade unions of the country – General Federation of Trade Read More...

‘Nepal will graduate to developing country soon

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 26 Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli stressed the need to advance the social security scheme with coordination, collaboration and cooperation among the three tiers of government. Addressing a programme organised by the Social Security Fund on the occasion of the Third Social Sec Read More...

Private sector’s role in reviving tourism stressed

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 26 The private sector needs to unite and work together for rehabilitation and revival of the tourism sector that has been hard-hit by COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers at an interaction organised by Nepal Tourism Board to promote tourism highlighted this. They further stressed th Read More...

Cultural sites to be rebuilt in two years

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 26 Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Kumar Bhattarai claimed all the earthquake-damaged cultural and religious heritages would be reconstructed within two years. Inaugurating the construction of Narayan Chatubyuha temple’s entrance gate on the premise Read More...

Nepse at new high, but analysts advise caution

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 26 The Nepal Stock Exchange created a fresh record today, as the benchmark index advanced by 18.43 points to rest at an all-time high of 1,893.24 points. Prior to this, the all-time record of Nepse was 1,881.45 in 2018. While the Nepse index had surged as high as 1,926.92 poin Read More...