KATHMANDU, Feb 18: The Kathmandu District Court on Monday acquitted former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara of a charge of attempted rape.
A single bench of judge Ambar Raj Paudel gave Mahara a clean chit five months after he was arrested after a female staffer of parliament secretariat accused him of rape attempt.
According to court registrar Ananda Prasad Shrestha the bench gave him a clean chit after evaluating the charge sheet and the documents and evidences produced against him. The bench passed a verdict to release Mahara after concluding that there was not enough evidence to prove the accusation.
Immediately after being acquitted, Mahara was taken to Dillibazar prison in order to complete the necessary process for his release. Hundreds of party cadres had gathered in front of the gate of the Dilli Bazar Prison to celebrate his release.
After completing the hearings on Sunday, the bench had scheduled the pronouncement of the verdict for Monday to conclude the case as directed by the Patan High Court (PHC), which on December 20 had instructed the court to resolve the case within a month.
Previously, the High Court, however, had upheld his detention in relation to the rape allegation against female staff of Parliamentary Secretariat, Roshani Shahi. A division bench of Chief Judge Nahakul Subedi and Judge Tek Narayan Kunwar had denied bail to Mahara upholding the Kathmandu District Court's decision.
Immediately after the order of the High Court, the Kathmandu District Court had begun continuous hearings and concluded all the process on Sunday by evaluating the charge sheet, the documents certified by witnesses, the video clips and the news reports published by news website Hamrakura.com, which had first broken the news.
Mahara had moved the High Court on November 21, challenging the trial court's November 4 decision to deny him bail.
Claiming that the Kathmandu District Court's order misinterpreted the law and made a wrong evaluation of the evidences, charge sheet and the other documents produced by the prosecutor, Mahara had moved the high court demanding that he be freed.
Kathmandu District Attorney's Office had filed a case of rape attempt against Mahara and sought seven-and-a-half years of imprisonment for Mahara including five years for rape attempt and two-and-a-half years for misusing his office.
Mahara was arrested on October 6 in response to a complaint filed by Shahi but she later filed a separate petition in court stating that the police had forced her to file the complaint and that Mahara was innocent.
Allegation against me proven wrong: Mahara
Welcoming Monday's court verdict to acquit him of a charge of rape attempt, former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara has said that the court verdict proved that the allegation against him was false.
Issuing a statement Monday Mahara said that his first priority will be to defend self-governance in the country in the coming days as in the past.
“Finally the allegation against me has been proven wrong. Respected court has acquitted me declaring innocent. I would like to appreciate the court and extend my thanks,” reads the statement. Thanking all well wishers Mahara has said that he had to spend 30 days in police custody and 103 in jail due to a false allegation.