High Court acquits Paul Shah of child sex abuse chargesThe order will free the actor doing time in Tanahun prison.
The Pokhara High Court on Sunday gave a clean chit to actor Purna Bikram Shah, also known as Paul Shah, in a child sex abuse case.
A joint bench of acting chief judge Dilliraj Acharya and judge Shreedhara Kumari Pudasaini issued the verdict citing lack of evidence to establish the charge against Shah, according to Bishnu Prasad Acharya, information officer at the high court.
Shah had moved the high court challenging the September 6, 2022 verdict of the Nawalparasi (East) district court, which had sentenced the actor to two years and six months in jail and slapped a fine of Rs25,000 on the charge of molesting a minor. The district court, however, had said the rape charge against him could not be established.
With this order, Shah, who is serving time in Tanahun prison, will be released.
Earlier, the Tanahun District Court on January 17 had acquitted the actor who was on trial on the charge of raping a minor in a separate case filed against him in Tanahun. Shah had been under judicial custody in Tanahun prison awaiting a final verdict from the court.
A 17-year-old singer had filed complaints in February, 2022 accusing Shah of raping her in Tanahun and Nawalparasi (East) districts.
The 32-year-old actor was taken into custody at the District Police Office in Tanahun on February 27, 2022 after the girl filed the complaint. The victim also filed another case against Shah at the Area Police Office in Gaindakot, Nawalparasi.
In March, 2022, the Tanahun District Court had issued an order to send Shah to judicial custody for investigation.
The singer, a minor as per Nepal’s law, has accused Shah of raping her with a false promise of marriage. She filed the case in Tanahun days after the controversy arose, with reports surfacing on various online news outlets.
However, the singer later changed her statement. She told the Tanahun district court in April last year that she had not been raped and the information stated in her previous complaints were false.
On Sunday, government attorney Ram Prasad Adhikari had represented the girl while senior advocates Kamal Mohan Wagle and Krishna Bahadur Thapa, and advocates Madhav Ghimire, Ganesh Prasad Adhikari and Janak Raj Dhungana deliberated on behalf of Shah.