KATHMANDU, Dec 1: The Patan High Court is to issue a verdict today on the writ petition filed against the Kathmandu District Court's order to send the accused to prison in the case of fake Bhutanese refugees scam.
Whether the court will order the release of the accused individuals, including former ministers Bal Krishna Khand and Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, and other 'high-profile' figures currently in custody, remains a matter of public interest.
The high court will decide whether to annul the District Court's order or uphold it. The high court is expected to issue the order today.
The hearing concluded yesterday at the Patan High Court after more than a week of deliberations on the fake Bhutanese refugee scam case that commenced on November 21, involving several legal professionals.
The joint bench of Judges Janak Pandey and Prakash Kharel is overseeing the case of CPN-UML Secretary and former Deputy Prime Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, as well as Nepali Congress leader and former Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand, who has been in custody for about five months.
In the case of the Bhutanese refugees, which has 22 defendants, the Kathmandu District Court remanded them in custody for a preliminary investigation. Then the detained individuals filed a petition at the Patan High Court against the detention order, seeking permission to fight the case without being incarcerated.
Patan High Court Spokesperson Tirtharaj Bhattarai said that an order may be issued in the case today.
In the fake Bhutanese refugee scam case, the police arrested 20 people, 17 of whom were ordered to be remanded in custody, while three were released on bail by the Kathmandu District Court.
A total of 15 people including Bal Krishna Khand and Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, who are in prison, approached the High Court against the decision of the District Court. However, Bhutanese refugee leader Teknath Rijal did not go to the high court.
The District Government Attorney Office, Kathmandu, filed a case against 30 people at the Kathmandu District Court for fraud, organized crime, treason and forgery on May 24, 2023. Ten of the accused are absconding.
In this case, CPN-UML leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Nepali Congress central member Balkrishna Khand who is also a former Home Minister, former Home Secretary Tek Narayan Pandey, former MP Angtawa Sherpa, Sanu Bhandari, Keshab Dulal, Sagar Rai, Sandesh Sharma, Indrajit Rai, Sandeep Rayamajhi, Narendra KC, Govinda Kumar Chaudhary, Ram Sharan KC, Shamsher Mian, Bhutanese refugee leader Teknath Rijal, Haribhakta Maharjan and Ashish Budhathoki are currently in pre-charge detention.
The court had demanded a bail of Rs 1 million from Tanka Gurung, Rs 500,000 from Laxmi Maharjan and Rs 1.5 million from Keshab Tuladhar.