Man accused in fatal drunk-driving case released on bailCourt said Malla could be released as he was unlikely to abscond or tamper with evidence.
The man accused in the fatal drunk driving car accident in the capital in December last year has been released on bail.
Prithvi Malla, who was taken into police custody after causing the death of 38-year-old Lila Devkota in a drunk-driving accident in Budhanilkantha on December 14, had been ordered by the Supreme Court to post a bail of Rs 500,000 on Wednesday.
The court held that given his medical history, the Covid-19 pandemic situation, and slim chances of him absconding or tampering with evidence, the 21-year-old could be released on bail.
After looking at the outpatient department records from Patan Mental Hospital, which show the defendant suffers from severe depression, and another report by Chirayu Hospital indicating he has asthma, it seems inappropriate to keep him in custody, said Kishor Poudel, media expert at the Supreme Court quoting the bench. He added that as it was unlikely that the defendant would abscond or destroy evidence, the bench decided to release Malla on bail.
The bench, comprising Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Manoj Kumar Sharma, on Wednesday had quashed an earlier decision by the Kathmandu District Court and the Patan High Court, and ordered his release.
According to Poudel, the bench also reasoned that Malla, an asthma patient, should not be kept in custody as the risk of contracting Covid-19 was high.
The District Attorney Office, after receiving a report from the police on the case, had filed vehicular homicide charges against Malla at the Kathmandu District Court on January 6 seeking up to 10 years in jail for the accused.
Vehicular homicide, according to Section 161 (2) of the Motor Vehicles and Transport Management Act, carries a jail term from two to 10 years.
Following the filing of the charges, Judge Dipak Kumar Dahal at the Kathmandu District Court on January 8 had ordered that Malla be kept in custody until the final verdict. However, soon after arriving at Dillibazar jail, he was taken to Chirayu Hospital citing health issues.
Prison officials said that Malla was taking advantage of a provision in the law that allows prisoners to remain in hospital on medical grounds. This provision has been abused by high-profile prisoners and prisoners with access to substantial financial resources, say police.
According to Jailor Ganesh Acharya at Dillibazar Prison, Malla was released on Thursday, a day after the court decision. “After the Kathmandu District Court and the Patan High Court denied him bail, he had moved the Supreme Court citing health reasons,” said Acharya.