Thursday, December 07, 2006

SC Orders Govt to Examine Witnesses in Sobhraj Case
A division bench of justices Sharada Prasad Pundit and Kalyan Shrestha on Wednesday ordered the government to examine two witnesses, who met and talked to alleged international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj while he was in Kathmandu in 1975.

A division bench of justices Sharada Prasad Pundit and Kalyan Shrestha issued the order to the government to examine witnesses Chandra Maharjan and Superintendent of Police Chandrabir Rai.

Maharjan, a taxi driver, had taken Sobhraj around Kathmandu. Rai had interrogated Sobhraj after the latter was arrested on the suspicion of involvement in the murder of American backpacker Connie Jo Bronzich and Canadian national Laurent Armond Carriere.

Their names figure in the Life and Crimes of Charles Sobhraj written by Richard Neville and Julie Clarke, among other books. The Supreme Court ordered the government to examine the witnesses.

The Supreme Court also directed authorities concerned to produce the original guest registration cards of Hotel Malla and Soaltee hotel. Sobhraj himself was believed to have signed the guest entry lists.

The court issued the order following a hearing on wednesday. Lawyers Badri Bahadur Karki and Lokbhakta Rana had pleaded on behalf of Sobhraj.

The apex court will hold a final hearing after completing the process of examining the evidence on murder case against Sobhraj, fake passport possession case and his appeal challenging verdicts given by the lower courts.

Challenging the Kathmandu District Court verdict, which had sentenced Sobhraj to 20 years in jail, Sobhraj had moved the apex court. The Patan Appellate Court had upheld the verdict. Sobhraj has served three years in jail.

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