National Human Rights Commission seeks progress report from police on Mahara rape chargesThough police say the woman's conflicting statements have made it difficult for them to pursue the case, criminal lawyers say the investigating agency can take the investigation forward as she had already called police on the night of the incident.
The National Human Rights Commission has formed a high-level three-member panel led by its director Yagya Prasad Adhikari to study and monitor the progress in the investigation so far into the rape allegations against Krishna Bahadur Mahara.
According to a press statement issued by the rights watchdog, it has also sought information from the Nepal Police regarding the status of the investigation into the case and action the security agency has taken to ensure the safety of the accuser and a journalist.
"The rights agency's attention has been drawn to the reported incident between Mahara and a woman and it has been closely following the developments since it took place," read the statement.
“We have sent letters to the Home Ministry and Nepal Police Headquarters seeking progress they have made so far in the investigation,” said Bed Prasad Bhattarai, secretary of the NHRC.
An online news portal, hamrakura.com, on Monday broke the story that a woman, who works at the Parliament Secretariat, accused Mahara of raping her at her Tinkune apartment.
On Thursday, Ajay Babu Shiwakoti, the editor of the online portal, said he was being threatened. Shiwakoti also took to Twitter to draw the attention of the ruling and opposition parties, civil society and media to his safety.
Even days after the incident, police have been too slow to act, initially saying the woman had not officially filed a complaint and later saying she had visited the Baneshwor police station to recant what she had told the online news portal.
Though police say the woman's conflicting statements have made it difficult for them to pursue the case, criminal lawyers say the investigating agency can take the investigation forward as she had already called police on the night of the incident.
Mahara though has stepped down as the House Speaker, he has not resigned as a Member of Parliament.
Various experts and former police officials told the Post on Thursday that police investigations involving high-profile personalities have on many instances in the past have failed to move forward.