#Minor beauty pageant 1st runner up ‘rape’ case

Case filed against Manoj Pandey at Kathmandu District Court

Published On: June 16, 2022 06:00 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 16: A case has been filed against Manoj Pandey, director of ‘Model Global Visa Consultancy’ in Kathmandu District Court. He has been accused of raping young girls. The District Attorney Office, Kathmandu, on Wednesday filed two cases, ‘Human Trafficking’ and ‘Child Sexual Abuse’ against Pandey. 

According to Ganga Prasad Pandey, chief attorney of District Government Attorney’s Office, Kathmandu, a sentence of 15 years has been demanded against Human Trafficking and 3 years for Child Sexual Abuse, a total of 17 years sentence. 

The first girl charged him of human trafficking, Trafficking Pressure Act 2064 BS Section 3(1) and (2), and the second girl charged him under section 225, of Code of Criminal Procedure 2074 (No Child Abuse) sub-sections 1 and 2. 

The victim is now 24 years old, and narrated her harrowing experience in a 20-series of videos on TikTok. She has alleged that Pandey had raped her in a hotel room of Everest Hotel, where he had invited her to celebrate the success of a beauty pageant which she had participated in 2014. The incident happened eight years ago and he kept abusing her for six months continuously. Pandey started blackmailing her by threatening her that he would expose her nude photos in public. 

After the incident surfaced, it took the internet by storm. The ‘Me Too’ campaign gained momentum once again. Even the government took this issue seriously. Amid growing calls to take action against the perpetrator, Nepal Police Headquarters then formed a three-member committee headed by SSP Basanta Kunwar to look into the matter. 

Police arrested Pandey from Swayambhu on May 22. Following the incident, another minor also reached the police station alleging that the accused Pandey had sexually abused her as well. According to Kathmandu Valley Crime Investigation Office Spokesperson Superintendent of Police Krishna Koirala, the victim who reached them for help is below 18 years of age.

Although the allegations made by the young girls during the investigation were likely to be directed toward 'rape', the investigation into human trafficking and smuggling was carried out due to the ‘statute of limit'. The report of the same investigation was submitted to the District Attorney’s Office, Kathmandu last week (Friday). Based on the same report, the Office filed a case against Pandey at the district court on Wednesday.

“After we filed the case, now the matter is in the court’s hands,” said Poudel, chief of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Kathmandu.

What is in the law? 

Pandey has been charged under the Human Trafficking Act 2007, Section (3) which states human beings are not to be trafficked and transported. According to the Sub Section (1), no one shall commit or cause to commit human trafficking and transportation and as per Sub Section (2) if anyone commits an act under Subsection (1) that shall be deemed to have committed an offence under this Act.

Similarly, Section (4) of the Act mentions that if anyone tries to sell or purchase a person for any purpose, tries to use someone into prostitution, with or without any benefit, tries to extract human organ except otherwise determined by law, this shall be deemed as human transportation. If anyone tries to take a person out of the country for the purpose of buying and selling, take anyone from his /her home, place of residence or from a person by any means such as enticement, inducement,  misinformation, forgery, tricks, coercion, abduction, hostage, allurement, influence, threat, abuse of power and by means of inducement, fear, threat or co-ercion to the guardian or custodian and keep him/her into ones custody or take to any place within Nepal or abroad or hand him/her over to somebody else for the purpose of prostitution and exploitation, these acts are considered as Human Trafficking and Transportation.

For those committing these acts, there are separate provisions ranging from one month to 20 years of imprisonment. According to the law, the person will be liable for a fine ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 200,000. 

Similarly, a case against Pandey has been filed by the minor under the 'Criminal Code-2074'. As per the Section 225 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 2074 (No Child Abuse) sub-sections 1 and 2, “To engage, or cause to engage, in child sexual exploitation; To touch, kiss, hold sensitive parts of body of him or her, embrace him or her with sexual intent or cause him or her to touch or hold sensitive parts of own body or body of another person or render him or her unconscious with sexual intent or display, or cause him or her to display sexual organs are considered as chaild sexual abuse.”


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