November 8, 2019 07:42 AM NPT
By: Madan Thakur
RAUTAHAT, Nov 8: Rautahat District Court has begun preliminary hearings in the case of former minister Mohammad Aftab Alam, who has been accused of multiple murders in a bomb blast in Rautahat in 2008.
Following three days of statement recording, the district court has started preliminary hearings, and government attorneys – speaking on behalf of the victims – have demanded that Alam be placed under judicial custody. During the hearings, Alam denied all the charges brought against him.
On Sunday, the District Attorney’s Office (DAO) Rautahat filed case against Alam and 10 others for their alleged involvement in the multiple murders in Rautahat. The case against the accused includes three charges – use of explosives, murder, and attempted murder.
Alam is accused of the death of dozens of persons in a massive blast in Rautahat that allegedly left 14 dead and eight injured. Alam has been accused of taking the dead bodies and the blast-injured to a nearby brick kiln and throwing the bodies as well as the injured into the furnace there in order to destroy any evidence of the blast. The blast had occurred on the eve of the CA elections in 2008 while Alam’s men were allegedly making bombs.
It was later learnt that they were making the bombs to create terror during the election and sway the vote to secure victory for Alam, who was one of the candidates.
The single bench of Distrct Judge Deepak Dhakal has asked Alam a total of 52 questions during the case adjudication since Monday.
During the hearings, Khadindra Raj Katuwal, chief district attorney, demanded that the court place Alam in judicial custody as there was already enough evidence against him. “As the investigation report has already been submitted to the district court with enough evidence, Alam should be put in judicial custody.”
Likewise, Arjun Prasad Koirala, district attorney, also demanded judicial custody for Alam.
Police had recorded statements from 17 persons as part of investigations into the case. They recorded the statements of former IGP Om Bikram Rana, former AIG Kiran Gautam, then SSP Purushottam Kandel, then DSP Indra Subedi and then sub-inspector Ishwar Bikram Shah. Likewise, they also recorded statements from eye-witnesses, workers from the brick kiln, and the survivors of the blast.
DAO Rautahat has sought life imprisonment for Alam and the 10 others, as per the recommendations of the district police office that probed the 11-year old massacre. The case has been filed against Alam’s brother Mohammad Mahtab Alam, Mohammad Mobin Alam, Sheik Bhadai, Shiekh Seraj, Sheik Fajlehak, Sagir Alam, Sheik Malakar, Gauri Shankar Sah, Badri Sahini, and Mukti Shah. All the accused except Alam are at large.
A total of 12 lawyers including Yubaraj Sangroula, Kumar Sharma and Govinda Sharma Bandi will plead on behalf of the victims. Alam has hired 31 lawyers.