KATHMANDU, Sept 24: The highly anticipated hearing on the minor rape case involving cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane is set to resume today at the Kathmandu District Court. This development comes after the case was adjourned last week due to a shortage of judges, leading to its rescheduling for today.
With all the necessary documents now in possession of the district court, it is anticipated that a verdict may be reached in the case today. Consequently, despite being part of the Nepal team for the Asian Games in China, Lamichhane will not be traveling to China due to the ongoing legal proceedings.
The case against Sandeep Lamichhane, centered on allegations of coercion, was initially registered at the Kathmandu District Court on October 31, 2022, and has since seen 28 hearings.
On November 4, 2022, following a closed hearing on the case, Judge Madhav Prasad Ghimire ordered Sandeep Lamichhane to be remanded in custody. During his statement, Lamichhane refused the rape allegations against him and submitted several documents as evidence, asserting that the victim (Gaushala-26) had reached the age of 18 on the day of the incident.
Subsequently, the court issued a detention order and directed the local authorities to provide the original copy of the victim's birth registration record book, along with a copy of the schedule form used in obtaining the citizenship certificate. However, various discrepancies emerged in the documents related to the victim's date of birth.
Initially, the Ward Office had forwarded information stating that the girl's date of birth was July 2, 2004, to the District Court. However, upon the court's request for clarification, the ward office responded that the records were unavailable due to the online nature of the birth registration process.
Sandeep Lamichhane later explained that he had received a document, which he presented as the victim's birth certificate during his statement, from an anonymous well-wisher, and he had no knowledge of the individual.
As per the details provided by Judge Ghimire's bench, the District Administration Office stated the victim's date of birth as May 31, 2004, aligning with the information presented in the charge sheet and corroborated by the victim's account. Nonetheless, discrepancies persisted, including concerns about the accuracy of details such as the mother's name and age in the documents submitted by Lamichhane.