KATHMANDU, July 30: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday upheld a Patan Appellate Court decision to convict French national Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj on the charge of murdering an American national in Nepal and possessing a fake passport, mainly on the basis of statements he recorded at the Indian Supreme Court in 1995.
The Patan Appellate Court, upholding the decision of Kathmandu District Court, had sentenced Sobhraj in 2005 to life imprisonment along with property confiscation on convictions for murder and fake passport possession.
Sobhraj had appealed to the SC against the Appellate Court decision. The division bench of SC Justices Ram Kumar Prasad Shah and Gauri Dhakal concluded that Sobhraj committed crimes in Nepal in 1975 under three fake names-- Allen Gotiyar, Henricus Bintanja and Sobhraj.
"Statements and records received from the Indian Supreme Court proved that Sobhraj was involved under fake names in a series of criminal activities inside and outside Nepal," reads the SC verdict.
The division bench said he came to Nepal in 1975 using a fake passport in the name of Henricus Bintanja, whom he had murdered in Bangkok, Thailand along with four other people.
"We came to the conclusion that the Patan Appellate court decision to convict him on the charge of murdering American national Connie Jo Bronizch after he arrived in Nepal on Bintanja´s fake passport in 1975 was quite appropriate," reads the SC verdict, adding, "The decision of the Appellate Court to convict him for possessing a fake passport was also appropriate and we upheld that too."
Statements and records from Indian Supreme prove Sobhraj faked three names
Conviction by appellate court was appropriate
SC concluded Sobhrai faked Bintaja´s passport to emplane for Nepal in Bangkok in 1975
Sobhraj ex-girlfriend´s statements recorded in Indian court proved he killed American in Nepal
In his statements recorded at the Indian Supreme Court, Sobhraj said that he had traveled to Nepal along with Ajaya Chaudhari and Monica Lecrec but never killed anyone in this country.
"Sobhraj also admitted before the Indian Supreme Court that he came to Nepal under Bintanja´s passport," reads the SC verdict, adding, "We upheld the Appellate Court decision to convict him based on the circumstantial evidence."
But Lecrec recorded her own statement before the Indian Court in which she said she was traveling in Nepal with Sobhraj and Chaudhary and Sobhraj did kill American national Bronizch while in Nepal."
The division bench said they observed the documents and verdicts of Indian courts as Nepali Law allows them to do so.
"We also verified that all three names --Sobhraj, Allen Gotiyar and Bintaja were used by Sobhraj himself. We concluded this after going through the Indian court documents. The law allows us to consult documents and verdicts of the Indian courts."
After his arrival in Nepal in 1975, Sobhraj killed American national Bronizch in Kathmandu and Canadian Laurent Armand Carriere in Bhaktapur.
A charge sheet filed against Sobhraj for murdering Carriere is still pending at Bhaktapur District Court as the incident took place in Sangha of Bhaktapur district.
After killing the two foreign nationals, Sobhraj went to Bangkok for one day using Carriere´s passport.
"He returned to Nepal from Bangkok after spending one day there and then went to India via Raxaul with a fake passport in the name of Vhitali Hakim, who was among those he killed in Bangkok," reads the SC verdict.
According to documents submitted by government officials, Sobhraj had killed five people in Bangkok alone.
Sobhraj was arrested in 2003 in Kathmandu on the charges of murdering the two North Americans. But later, Patan Appellate court also convicted him of using fake passports to come to Nepal from Thailand. Kathmandu District Court convicted him of murder in 2004 and Patan Appellate court upheld the verdict in 2005.
Sobhraj had moved the SC claiming that he was innocent of both the murder and fake passport charges. He has to continue serving a 20-year life sentence slapped by the courts. He has already served seven years in a Nepali jail.
Sobhraj´s bride to be Nihita Bishwas and mother-in-law to be Shakuntala Thapa, who is also his lawyer, said the judiciary was biased while convicting him. Talking to journalists at the SC premises, they said, "We are ready to show evidence how the justices were biased."
Government prosecutors Krishna Prasad Poudel, Shree Krishna Bhattarai and Revatiraj Tripathi had pleaded at the SC against Sobhraj.
It would be interesting drama to the Sobra´s legacy if his bride and mother-in-law could show evidences of biased justice dispensed to him.
Justice is finally done to the man who thinks he can do anything he wants.
Prachanda and Baburam killed 13000 and are ruling this nation. The poor fellow Sobraj, who has already paid 30 years for his crimes is now sent to jail. God save Nepal and it´s bullshit laws. Damn, damn , damn.