KATHMANDU, Dec 26: The Judgment Execution Directorate at the Supreme Court has yet again asked Nepal Police to arrest CPN (Maoist Center) leader and former lawmaker Balkrishna Dhungel, who was convicted of murdering Ujjan Shrestha and was sentenced to jail by the apex court.
The directorate wrote to the Law Section at Nepal Police Headquarters on Friday expressing serious concern over the failure to arrest Dhungel and to even respond to the apex court verdict despite repeated directives from the directorate.
The directorate has also reminded police headquarters that it had sent an earlier letter on January 24 to execute the verdict against Dhungel but the police are yet to respond and inform the judiciary about any moves to arrest Dhungel.
“Judgment execution is a part of the legal system. The state and its authorities should take the responsibility of judgment execution with full commitment to the spirit of the verdicts of the judiciary,” reads the letter sent to Nepal Police.
“It cannot even be imagined that the verdict of the supreme judicial body would not be executed in a country like ours which has adopted democracy and rule of law. In the absence of judgment execution, impunity will grow and ultimately the rule of law will come to an end,” said the directorate.
The directorate has said it is unfortunate that a security agency, which should be dedicated to public security and should ferret out the criminals, has failed to arrest a convicted man, and that this failure raises serious questions over the security mechanism itself.
The directorate has asked Nepal Police to take necessary steps to arrest Dhungel, direct all police offices in the country to that end and inform the directorate immediately about what is going on regarding execution of the verdict.
The directorate had written to Nepal Police after Ujjan’s family informed the directorate that police had not arrested Dhungel although he was seen moving about in various places, including the capital.
The directorate has sent the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Supreme Court administration copies of its latest letter.
On 10 May 2004, Okhaldhunga District Court had convicted Dhungel and eight others over Ujjan’s murder. Dhungel served a brief term in jail before being freed in 2006, following a decision of Rajbiraj Appellate Court to give him a clean chit.
On January 3, 2010, the SC upheld the 2004 verdict of the district court. The apex court had then sentenced Dhungel to life imprisonment along with confiscation of his property.
However, implementation of the apex court verdict remained on hold as the Baburam Bhattarai government had forwarded Dhungel’s name for presidential clemency.
However, the Constitutional Bench at the Supreme Court on January 7 ordered the government not to provide amnesty or presidential clemency to Dhungel in the murder case.
Dhungel has been absconding since the Supreme Court verdict convicting him of murder. A group led by Dhungel had murdered Ujjan Kumar Shrestha in 1998 during the Maoist insurgency.