Sandeep Lamichhane, cornered by Interpol, vows to fight for justiceAfter the diffusion notice was issued, suspended Nepal cricket captain repeats pledge to come home and face rape allegation.
Nepal Police has issued a diffusion notice through the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) against Sandeep Lamichhane, the former captain of Nepal cricket team who is accused of raping a minor. A top police official said the notice was released three days ago.
A red corner notice is one that Interpol issues in response to a request from the local police, whereas a diffusion notice is one that the local police of Interpol member states issue through Interpol's procedures, according to a police officer privy to the development.
Lamichhane has now been added to the police fugitive list of Interpol member states as a result of the notification. If he is discovered in one of these nations, the police there have the authority to detain him and turn him over to the Nepal Police.
After the police’s move, Lamichhane reiterated through a Facebook post on Sunday, his second status after the complaint against him, that he is innocent. Lamichhane, who is out of contact even with the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), insisted that he was ready to face the allegations. He urged everyone not to disseminate rumours about him.
“All the allegations against me have affected me mentally. I am in mental stress and ill health, and have kept myself in isolation. I have been following the doctor's advice,” Lamichhane said. “I will come back to Nepal as soon as possible.”
However, Lamichhane has not made his whereabouts known, nor said when he will return to the country.
A 17-year-old girl had filed a complaint against Lamichhane at the Metropolitan Police Range, Gaushala in Kathmandu on September 6. According to police, 22-year-old Lamichhane had allegedly taken the girl to various places in Kathmandu and Nagarkot on August 21 and raped her in a hotel room the same night.
Kathmandu District Court subsequently issued an arrest warrant against Lamichhane on September 8. That very day, Lamichhane took to social media to claim that he was innocent and would return to Nepal to fight the legal battle. However, he has not returned yet, nor has he contacted Nepal Police.
“We have a practice of prosecuting the person through Interpol when they are not in the country at the time of the complaint against them,” a police officer told the Post on condition of anonymity. “Since the issue is serious, we issued a diffusion notice through Interpol to arrest him three days ago.”
Interpol colour-codes crimes—red, blue, yellow, black, and purple, said former additional inspector general of police Rajendra Singh.
“The notice is issued according to the type of crime and the situation. A black corner notice is issued to search for a dead person and a purple notice is issued for arresting a person involved in an explosion,” Singh explained.
Even in the case the alleged person is not convicted and is simply accused, a red corner notice can be issued to arrest them, said Singh.
“We just need a warrant issued by the court to arrest the accused from a foreign country through the Interpol,” Singh said.
Lamichhane, however, has said there is a conspiracy against him and he was prepared for the legal battle.
Lamichhane remains on the run for 18 days since the arrest warrant was issued. Police had earlier claimed that they had strong evidence against Lamichhane after they inspected the CCTV footage of the hotel where he allegedly spent the night with the minor.
When Lamichhane was accused of raping the minor, he was in Trinidad & Tobago to play in the Carribbean Premier League (CPL). He was part of the national team that had played ODI and T20 series against Kenya before being the part of the CPL.
Soon after the allegation, Nepal’s cricket governing body suspended Lamichhane from the national team.
The victim had registered the police complaint charging that Lamichhane had forced her to have sex with him.
Though police had a medical examination of the girl, the result has not been revealed yet.