Army officer convicted in death of man inside Chitwan parkSergeant Chiran Kumar Budha was arrested last September. He was released from prison on Monday on account of completing nine-month jail term handed down by court.
The Chitwan District Court has convicted a Nepal Army (NA) officer in connection with the death of 24-year-old Raj Kumar Chepang.
Chepang of Rapti Municipality-2 had been detained and thrashed for trespassing in the Chitwan National Park in July last year.
A single bench of judge Gayatri Prasad Regmi on Monday sentenced army sergeant Chiran Kumar Budha to nine months imprisonment for his involvement in Chepang’s death.
According to registrar and information officer at the court Ishwar Acharya, the convict has also been fined Rs 9,000. “The court’s verdict also orders Budha to provide Rs 200,000 to the family of the victim,” said Acharya.
On July 16, 2020, Raj Kumar and six of his friends, including two women, had been detained by an Army patrol inside the park. They had gone to collect ghongi, a species of snail considered a delicacy, in the Jyudi river inside the park.
The group was released on the same day. But Raj Kumar was taken ill after he was released and died on July 22 of what is believed to be injuries inflicted by the Army personnel, according to his family.
Budha, who was deployed at Liglig Post of the Nepal Army’s Batuk Dal Battalion at the Chitwan National Park when the incident took place, was arrested on September 20 following a complaint at the District Police Office by Bishnulal Chepang, Raj Kumar’s father.
On July 24, Bishnulal had filed a complaint at the District Police Office in Chitwan demanding legal action against those involved in assaulting his son. On September 10, Bishnulal filed another complaint at the police office mentioning the names of those involved in the incident.
The Chitwan police had arrested Budha 10 days after receiving the second complaint, when the investigation officers received post mortem, viscera and blood test reports of the deceased. The post mortem of the deceased was conducted at the TU Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu.
Budha, a resident of Geruwa in Bardiya district, was released from Bharatpur Prison on Monday after completing his nine-month jail term. According to Kamal Prasad Kafle, chief at Bharatpur Prison, the prison administration freed Budha upon completion of the sentence.Raj Kumar’s family had initially refused to receive the body, suspecting foul play by government authorities in investigating the death. They had received the body after a written agreement was drafted on July 31 to provide Rs 1million compensation to Raj Kumar’s family and take legal action against the guilty. As per the agreement, the park had agreed to provide Rs 700,000 and the Rapti Municipal Office Rs 300,000 to the bereaved family.