Mahara, in court statement, denies ever entering the woman’s apartmentThe former Speaker of the House finally gave his statement on Friday after he was formally charged with attempted rape.
The Kathmandu District Court has finally recorded Krishna Bahadur Mahara’s official statement where he admitted to having attempted to visit the woman who has accused him of attempted rape, but said he was unable to enter her apartment.
Mahara, who had so far failed to provide a statement citing health concerns, gave his statement on Friday after the district attorney’s office, on Thursday, filed a charge sheet demanding five to seven-and-a-half years in jail for the attempted rape of a woman who works at the Parliament Secretariat. Mahara, the former Speaker of the House, stepped down after the rape allegations surfaced in the media.
Mahara’s statement was recorded by a single bench of Chief Judge Sudarshan Raj Pandey. Sources familiar with court proceedings said that Mahara admitted to having reached the woman’s neighbourhood but did not enter her apartment as she did not respond to his phone calls.
According to the charge sheet, the district attorney has accused Mahara of entering the woman’s apartment with a bottle of alcohol when she was alone and then beating her after she refused his advances. The charge sheet makes reference to a pair of spectacles that were recovered from the victim’s apartment. According to the district attorney, the power of those glasses matches Mahara’s.
“As the recording of Mahara’s statement took a long time, the detention hearing to decide whether he should be released on bail, general date or be kept in prison could not take place today,” said Gyan Bahadur Karki, information officer at the Kathmandu District Court. “Other processes will continue after the process of recording his statement is complete.”
Mahara was taken into custody on October 6—two days after the woman lodged a complaint with the police. Four days after his arrest, Mahara was admitted to Norvic Hospital after he complained of chest pains.
“Preliminary detention hearings on the case will continue from Sunday,” “Since it took a long time to record Mahara’s statement, we were not called for further hearings,” said Umakanta Poudel, the district attorney. Mahara will remain in police custody until the court’s decision on Sunday, as his 25 days in judicial custody have already expired.
According to Numaraj Khanal, the assistant district attorney, they have sought three-and-a-half to five years in jail for the attempted rape of a woman above 18 years of age. They are seeking an additional jail term as the case involves a person holding public office.
According to Criminal Code Clause 219.3 (e), the penalty for the rape of a woman above 18 years of age is seven to 10 years in jail and for attempted rape is half that penalty—3.5 to 5 years. The punishment for rape varies according to the gravity of the crime, which is determined by the age and state of the victim.
Police had also sought a blood sample from Mahara for a DNA test, but according to the police, doctors at Norvic hospital said that Mahara was unable to give blood due to his ill health.
“We received a letter from the hospital which said that he [Mahara] can only give blood once his health condition improves,” said Deputy Superintendent Hobindra Bogati of the Metropolitan Police Range.
Police had also sought Mahara’s cell phone for a forensic test but his family members have claimed that his wife smashed the phone in a fit of rage.