Dashain holidays could delay investigation into Mahara rape chargesThough police say investigation is underway, they refuse to share the progress.
Criticism is mounting on the government and police to expedite investigation into rape allegations against Krishna Bahadur Mahara, but the investigating agency is unlikely to pursue the case in the desired manner on the pretext of Dashain holidays.
Even days after the incident, police are dillydallying. Initially, the law enforcement agency said it could not investigate the case because the accuser had not filed an official complaint. But police now say the investigation could not be moved forward after the accuser visited the Baneshwor police post to withdraw her earlier statement made to the media.
There, however, are concerns she could have done so under duress.
Lawyers have maintained that police investigation should have continued even though the accuser did not file an official complaint because she had on the night of the incident informed the police. They say the investigation should not be halted also because the accuser has changed her statement.
According to advocate Meera Dhungana, also a women’s rights activist, the investigation is being delayed just because it is related to a high-profile person.
“Police shouldn’t have waited for the victim to file the first information report as there was enough evidence—CCTV footage, a glass that Mahara had drunk out of and some others materials—to continue the investigation,” said Dhungana. “If the investigation does not take place in an independent manner in a country with over 51 percent of women population, it simply means the government is not serious and concerned about the safety of women in this country.”
Various police officials the Post spoke to while said investigation is underway, they stopped short of sharing any information.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police Uttam Raj Subedhi, chief of Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range, police have been investigating the case seriously and will continue it.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Durga Raj Regmi, chief of Baneshwor police, said he cannot disclose the progress made so far because there are orders from higher-ups. “But our investigation is underway,” Regmi told the Post.
A senior police official, who requested anonymity, said the investigation is unlikely to move forward before Dashain holidays.
“Further investigation into Mahara case, including forensic tests, is likely to happen only after Dashain holidays,” the official told the Post.
According to Deputy Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati, spokesperson for the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range, police are in touch with the victim and that they are committed to her safety.
“Despite the victim submitting a written statement saying no crime had taken place and there was no case to be pursued, we have not stopped our investigation,” said DSP Bogati.