Congress lawmaker Mohammad Aftab Aalam remanded in custody for five more daysAlam was arrested on October 13 in connection with an explosion and the subsequent murder of at least 23 persons in Rautahat 12 years ago.
The Rautahat District Court on Sunday remanded Nepali Congress lawmaker Mohammad Aftab Alam to five more days in judicial custody.
Alam, also a former minister, was arrested on October 13 in connection with a bomb blast and subsequent murder of as many as 23 people in Rautahat in 2008.
On October 15, the court had decided to remand him in custody for seven days. On Sunday, Judge Chanak Mani Aryal prolonged the custody.
On April 9, 2008, some people were injured when explosives they were making, apparently at the behest of Alam, went off accidentally. The explosives were being made targeting the imminent Constituent Assembly elections, according to police. Alam, according to investigations, was involved in burning at least 23 people alive in a brick kiln to “destroy the evidence”.
Two months later, Alam turned himself in to the police on June 23, 2008, after a first information report was filed identifying him as the primary accused. The Office of the Attorney General, however, decided on July 14, 2008 against pursuing a criminal case against Alam and five others.
Responding to a writ petition filed on behalf of the victims, the Supreme Court in May 2012, four years after the incident, ordered that the case be moved forward.
"There is enough ground to investigate further and move the case forward," a joint bench of judges Sushila Karki and Bharat Bahadur Karki had observed, ordering the Rautahat District Police Office to arrest those made defendants in the writ.
The court order, however, had remained unimplemented, leading the petitioners to file a complaint with the Judgement Execution Directorate in March this year.
Alam was arrested seven years after the Supreme Court's order.
Alam was elected from Rautahat constituency-2 in the first Constituent Assembly elections of 2008. However, he lost the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013, before going on to win the 2017 legislative elections. Alam served as a minister in the Madhav Kumar Nepal government.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission said on Sunday its serious attention was drawn to various media reports concerning the investigation by the commission into the Rautahat blast.
In a statement, the constitutional rights body said that the commission had initiated an on-site investigation by immediately forming an investigation panel on April 27, 2008 and submitted the report on May 12. Several orders have been issued in relation to the case, the rights body said. The watchdog also said families of the blast victims had lodged the complaint with the commission on April 24, 2008 after police refused to register the complaint.
The statement noted that the Supreme Court on May 29, 2012 had issued its final verdict on the case, responding to a writ petition filed on behalf of the victims.
“The apex court had mentioned the commission’s investigation while passing its verdict,” the statement read.
The statement noted that, according to the National Human Rights Commission Act-2012, the commission cannot initiate action on the cases once they are lodged in a court.
So the complaint is still under consideration of the commission as stipulated by the National Human Rights Commission (Action on Complaints and Compensation Determination Regulations), it said.
The commission has made it clear that it doesn’t keep its reports secret except for the security of witness and victims in the incidents related to human rights violations and excesses.
Stating that the reports regarding the commission’s role published and aired by certain media do not carry the truth, the commission hoped further investigation into the case could be conducted based on the verdict by the Supreme Court.