Former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who has been accused of attempted rape, leaves the district attorney's office at Babarmahal, Kathmandu on Sunday. Photo: Republica
KATHMANDU, Oct 21: The Kathmandu District Court has once again extended the judicial custody of former Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who was arrested on a charge of attempted rape, by five days.
“The court has allowed police to keep him in custody for five more days. This will be effective from Saturday,” said the court’s registrar Ananda Shrestha.
In an attempt to secure Mahara’s release from custody, his lawyers had suggested to him to record his statement at the court. As suggested by the lawyers, Mahara agreed to record his statement to police investigators in the presence of the government attorney.
Earlier, Mahara, who has been staying at Norvic International Hospital citing poor health, had refused to give his statement to police investigators.
After recording his statement for seven hours on Sunday, police produced Mahara before the Kathmandu District Court to extend his judicial custody. Roshani Shahi, the woman who had earlier accused Mahara of trying to rape and beat her, appeared in person before the court. She has backtracked on her previous statement.
In an application filed at the court, Shahi has claimed that she registered the case of attempted rape against the former Speaker ‘under pressure from the police’. Shahi has been changing her statements since the rape case was reported in media some three weeks ago.
Initially, she had told the media that Mahara had come to her apartment with whisky and snacks when her husband was away and raped her. While filing the case at the police office she, however, mentioned that Mahara had attempted to rape and beat her up.
Court officials see Shahi’s move as an attempt to get Mahara released from police custody and weaken the rape charge implicating the high-profile politician.
Gurung released without bail
Meanwhile, the Kathmandu District Court on Sunday released ruling party lawmaker Parbat Gurung, who has been accused of an attempted murder.
After recording the lawmaker’s statement and conducting a preliminary hearing on his alleged involvement in an attempted murder case, a single bench of judge Purneshwar Prasad Upadhyay ordered the police administration to release him without bail.
Lawmaker Gurung had appeared before the court on Sunday itself after the court issued an arrest warrant against him. Shortly after the lawmaker surrendered, the court recorded his statement regarding his alleged involvement in the attempted murder case and conducted the preliminary hearing.
Birdhawj Khadka of Dolakha had filed a case at the court against Gurung, accusing him of conspiring to murder him in Kathmandu after the 2017 local elections. He has accused Gurung of instructing his cadres to attack him as a revenge for an earlier incident.
Khadka was beaten almost to death in Kathmandu, allegedly by the cadres of the then CPN-UML, just two days before the elections.
Earlier still, UML cadre Kul Bahadur Tamang was killed in Dolakha in a clash with Maoist cadres. The UML had accused Khadka and other Maoists of being involved in the incident. When an absconding Khadka appeared in Kathmandu just two days prior to the election, UML cadres reportedly beat him up. At the time, the Maoists had formed an electoral alliance with the Nepali Congress (NC) and against the then UML for the local poll.