Judge and attorney dealing with Alam case leave districtAlam was remanded in judicial custody after his formal trial came to an end on Friday.
Deepak Dhakal, the district judge of Rautahat who gave a verdict to send accused Mohammad Aftab Alam to prison, and Khadindraraj Katwal, the district attorney who had filed a charge sheet against Alam demanding life imprisonment, left Rautahat district on Friday citing that they are on leave.
Police escorted Dhakal to Chandranigahapur from Gaur, the district headquarters of Rautahat, at 9 pm on Friday. Dhakal headed to Kathmandu the same night.
Gunaraj Parajuli, the registrar at the court, said, “The district judge left the district, as he felt pressured and threatened while dealing with Alam’s case. We can’t say what will happen next.”
On Friday, Alam was remanded in judicial custody after his formal trial came to an end. The Nepali Congress lawmaker was arrested on October 13 for his involvement in a bomb blast in Fradahawa, Rajpur, in Rautahat, on April 9, 2008, and the subsequent murder of at least 23 people in the district. Alam was elected to the federal parliament from Rautahat-2 in the 2017 elections.
Meanwhile, attorney Katwal said he is on leave to rest, and it has nothing to do with any security threat.
“The higher level asked me about the security threat that I could face relating to Alam’s case. But I told them that I hadn’t faced any such threats until now,” said Katwal, “I felt pressured while working on Alam’s case. That’s why I am on leave. I don’t know whether I will return to the district or not.”
On Monday, Gauri Shankar Ram Chamar, one of the witnesses in the trial of Alam, had filed a written testimony at the Rautahat District Court, claiming that he was injured when a cooking gas cylinder went off at his home. However, on Tuesday, Chamar, who is currently under police protection, retracted his statement, saying that he had testified under duress. He said he was abducted and told to change his statement.
The District Court had begun a formal trial on Alam’s case on November 7. Police have registered ‘attempted murder’ and ‘holding, transporting explosive materials’ charges against him, and he also faces charges of burning injured people alive in a brick kiln "to destroy evidence".
Alam, who was sent to Gaur Prison on Friday, was transferred to Kathmandu-based Nakhu Jail at midnight. Bhupendra Khatri, superintendent of police, said Alam was sent to Kathmandu because of security threats.
“The Court has given us permission to transfer Alam to other prisons if Gaur Prison isn’t secure enough,” said Khatri.