Nepal | December 06, 2019

THT 10 YEARS AGO: Month after verdict, Charles Sobhraj all set to move the apex court

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, July 14, 2009

International serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj is all set to move the Supreme Court, challenging the monthold verdict of the Patan Appellate Court, which had convicted him in a fake passport case. “We’re ready to move the apex court. We plan to file the plea within a week,” Sobhraj’s lawyer Ram Bandhu Sharma told The Himalayan Times. Legal eagle Lokbhakta Rana has prepared the appeal. On June 4, the appellate court had convicted Sobhraj, slapping a year’s jail term along with a fine of Rs 2,000 as per Foreigners Act, 1958. The court argued that since he killed American backpacker Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975 in Nepal, it was evident that he had entered the country illegally. But, the 65-year-old criminal has all along been in denial. He insisted that he never visited the Himalayan nation in 1975. Concurrently, he was not involved in the murder case. But, the division bench, comprising judges Mohan Prasad Ghimire and Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada, has based its verdict on circumstantial evidence — such as Sobhraj’s authorised signature, his address in slain lady’s diary, statements of the victim’s friends and witnesses — which conclusively proved that he did visit Nepal and also committed the crime 34 years ago. The court cited hotels’ records that Sobhraj came to Nepal, impersonating as Dutch national Henricus Bintanja. “He had also revealed to the Indian authorities that he had put up at Soaltee Hotel,” the bench has observed.

Ranibari case awaits closure

Kathmandu, July 14, 2009

want you keep on smiling from the “I heaven. I miss you every single moment, mamu,” Agyashree Shrestha dedicated these lines to her slain mother on this year’s Mother’s Day. Agya was five years old on July 15, 2002, when she escaped with a 17-cm wound on her neck and a severe trauma. It took her months of counselling and medical care to regain normalcy. Seven years later, Agya remembers her parents by writing poems and singing her mamu’s favourite songs.

When she sings the Titanic lead number in her exquisite voice, it makes her teachers and acquaintances cry. “The most memorable incident was when my parents brought a candy doll for my fifth birthday,” says Agya. It was to be her last birthday gift from her parents. Five months later, her parents, computer professional Hemanta and his wife Anjali Shrestha, were brutally slashed in their Ranibari, Lazimpat, bedroom in the early morning. Agya hid beneath a table, and later, one of the khukuriwielders locked her in the bathroom to save her from the fury of the other attacker. The two assailants found time to walk to the nearest water tap, wash off the blood, buy medicated tapes from a pharmacy and escape.

Why the two was killed still remains a mystery, despite 17 special investigation commissions. People, who are in know of the case, suspect foul play. Many of the evidence was mishandled by the police, including passports and voice recorder from the house of Geeta Khadka, one of the early suspects, they said. The police is “officially” still trying to find the culprits.

A version of this article appears in print on July 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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