The five Maoist activists held by the Dailekh police on the suspicion of murdering journalist Dekendra Thapa were ordered 12 more days in judicial custody by the District Court on Thursday.
The suspects were produced in the court for their remand extension as their previous period expired on Wednesday. Two of the accused—Jai Bahadur Shahi and Harilal Pun Magar—were also taken to the District Attorney’s Office to record their statements. The duo’s statement-recording had stalled after the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), as directed by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, ordered the District Attorney’s office to stop the prosecution, citing that the case belonged to the conflict period.
The work of the prosecuting officer resumed after the Supreme Court overruled the OAG directive and sent a letter in the regard to the District Attorney’s office.
With this, statements of all the five suspects have been recorded, opening way for the judicial proceeding. The quintet could be tried on the charges of abduction, torture and murder. Police Inspector Binod Sharma said they were planning to visit the incident site on Friday to gather witnesses’ statements and evidences.
Meanwhile, the search continues for four other suspects involved in the 2004 murder of journalist Thapa. Sharma said they have corresponded with the centre seeking assistance for the arrest of the absconding suspects.
Dailekh police have already publicised the reported locations of the suspects at large. The concerned authorities, however, have yet to investigate the matter, let alone make the arrests, said Pushkar Thapa, district chairman of the Federation of Nepali Journalists. He claimed that the absconding suspects are moving about freely under the protection of the government.
Based on the statement, there were nine persons directly involved in the abduction, torture and murder of Thapa. The main accused Bam Bahadur Khadka aka Mukti, Keshav Khada, Bhaktiram Lamichhane and Bam Bahadur Khadka aka Arun are still at large.
Posted on: 2013-01-18 09:07