Kathmandu court sends Sandeep Lamichhane to central jail for judicial custodyWith the court's order, Lamichhane now has to stay in jail until the court delivers a final verdict on the case.
After recording statements for four days in a row, the Kathmandu District Court on Friday remanded the suspended national cricket captain Sandeep Lamichhane in custody on a rape charge.
A single bench of judge Madhav Prasad Ghimire passed the order to send the cricketer to the central jail, Sundhara after completing the detention hearing. Lamichhane has been under police custody since he was arrested on October 6.
With the court's order, Lamichhane now has to stay in jail until the court delivers a final verdict on the case that grabbed huge attention in the cricketing fraternity. However, Lamichhane can appeal before a higher court against the decision.
“Now Lamichhane will have to fight the case from custody until a final verdict is passed,” said Deepak Dahal, information officer at the Kathmandu District Court.
On Monday, the Kathmandu District Attorney’s Office filed a chargesheet at the Kathmandu District Court against Lamichhane, charging him of raping a 17-year-old girl.
The court had begun recording statements of both the defendant and the plaintiff from Tuesday.
During the closed-door recording, 10 lawyers including four senior lawyers–Krishna Prasad Sapkota, Lava Kumar Mainali, Sabita Bhandari Baral, and Raman Kumar Shrestha–had defended Lamichhane, according to Dahal.
From the minor girl’s side, four district attorneys; Krishna Bhandari, Shanti Kafle, Mahesh Prasad Khatri, Laxman Upadhayay had taken part in the recordings.
“Pleading from the government side was completed on Wednesday. The detention hearing was prolonged as Lamichhane hired more lawyers,” said Dahal.
Lamichhane is accused of raping the minor on August 21. He has been charged under Section 219 of the Criminal Code 2074.
Through the chargesheet, the district attorney had demanded compensation from Lamichhane for the victim’s alleged physical and mental torture caused by Lamichhane’s alleged act. After the chargesheet was filed, Lamichhane’s bank account and property were frozen.
If the charge against him is proven, he will be imprisoned for 10 to 12 years per the existing legal provisions.
Last week, Nepal Police, after an investigation, said that Lamichhane had indeed raped the minor. He and his lawyers, however, have denied the charge.
Superintendent of Police Dinesh Raj Mainali, spokesperson of the District Police Range Kathmandu, said the police have submitted adequate evidence to the court against Lamichhane.
“Till Thursday, he was being kept at the Metropolitan Police Circle, Gaushala, from Friday onwards, he will be in custody at the central jail in Sundhara,” said Mainali.
In her statement, the minor girl had told the police that Lamichhane had raped her twice. In her statement to the police, the girl had said that she had known Lamichhane through the social networking app Snapchat. She had also stated that the cricketer forcefully took her to Nagarkot and brought her back to a hotel in Tilganga, Kathmandu.
Meanwhile, Lamichhane in his statement to the police said that he took the minor to Nagarkot of the girl's will. He also said that the girl who has claimed herself as the victim admitted her age being 19-year-old.
The minor had filed a case against the 22-year-old cricketer on September 6 at the Metropolitan Police Circle, Gaushala.
On September 7, the Kathmandu District Court issued an arrest warrant against Lamichhane.
Following the arrest warrant, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) suspended the globe-trotting leg spinner. When he was accused of rape, Lamichhane was in Trinidad & Tobago to play the Twenty20 franchise Caribbean Premier League (CPL) from Jamaica Tallawahs.
Lamichhane wrote on Facebook the same day claiming that he was innocent and would return to Nepal to seek justice. However, after he mysteriously disappeared, Nepal Police circulated an Interpol diffusion against Lamichhane.
On October 1, Lamichhane announced that he would return to Nepal on October 6 to face legal charges. Soon after he landed at the airport, he was arrested by officials at the Department of Immigration and plainclothes personnel.