The Kathmandu District Court has issued an arrest warrant against CPN lawmaker Paarbat Gurung.
An attempt to murder case was lodged on May 12 against Gurung who was elected to the House of Representatives (HoR) from Dolakha on a ticket of the then CPN-UML. Registrar at the court Ananda Shrestha told Setopati that an arrest warrant was issued on September 25 as he did not report to the court even after the case was lodged.
Grung has received the arrest warrant including a 35-day deadline on September 25. He will not be able to defend himself if he does not report to the court within 35 days of September 25. He can also be arrested by the police.
The incident has its genesis in the local election of May 2017 when the then Maoists—who have since unified with CPN-UML to form the ruling CPN—had allied with the current main opposition Nepali Congress (NC).
Gurung was the then UML Dolakha chief and the party had deployed him as the election commander in the district to counter the NC-Maoist alliance that was also in power in Kathmandu.
Gurung, who lived in Gaurishankar rural municipality 5, had formed one 'Tiger Group' including even hardcore criminals, according to the police, to counter the alliance.
Both the sides had organized programs to demonstrate their respective muscle in Gaurishankar-1 on May 9, 2017.
Kul Bahadur Tamang of the the Tiger Group was killed in the subsequent clash and Gurung on May 10 lodged a complaint with the Dolakha Police accusing almost four dozen Maoists including Bir Dhwoj Khadka, Bishal Khadka and Devi Khadka.
Bir Dhwaj Khadka, who was the muscleman of the then Maoists in the district, absconded after the complaint and came to Kathmandu.
The Tiger Group continued to look for him for vengeance and finally tracked him in Kathmandu. He had boarded a bus from Bhaktapur on the third day of the incident and one Urmila Thami, who boarded the bus from Surya Binayak, informed the Tiger Group.
Sabin Tamang, Sagar Tamang, Chhesang Tamang and Jeevan Tamang of the Tiger Group stopped the bus in Chabahil, dragged Khadka out of the bus by his hair and started thrashing him.
The police in the charge-sheet citing eye-witnesses claim that Khadka was taken to a nearby street where Gurung was also waiting. Locals stopped the Tiger Group when Sabin Tamang took out a khukuri to hack Khadka after he was thrashed mercilessly, according to Khadka's complaint.
The police called by the locals arrested Karna, Chhesang, Jeevan and Min Bahadur from the spot and took Khadka, who was almost unconscious, to the hospital for treatment.
The Gaushala Police Circle refused to lodge Khadka's complaint and he was instead handed over to Dolakaha Police after two days of treatment for investigation into the murder case.
Khadka was released on date by the Dolakha District Court on June 15, 2017 after his involvement in the murder could not be established and he came to Kathmandu after that and lodged the complaint with the Metropolitan Police Kathmandu Range against Gurung and others.
The charge-sheet filed at the Kathmandu District Court citing tests of Khadka's wounds, eye-witness accounts and report at the cite of incident states that attempt to murder charge has been established and demanded a sentence of five-12 years and fine against Gurung and others.
The investigation report of police states that Khadka still has hearing problem, pain in ears and eyes, pain in neck limiting its movement, headache, pain in muscles in the cheeks limiting their movement while eating, spitting and other acts and many more problems.
The police did not arrest any defendant despite investigating the case after Khadka lodged the complaint. "The defendants were absconding and we have not been able to find anyone till date," SSP with Kathmandu Police Range Uttam Raj Subedi says.
The 'untraceable' Gurung after the complaint was lodged contested the general election from Dolakha in November 2017 on a UML ticket and was elected federal lawmaker ironically with support of the Maoists. He moves with police protection in formal programs in the district.
The police surprisingly either did not know that the defendant Gurung was federal lawmaker Paarbat Gurung, or turned a blind eye despite knowing that.
The police did not lodge a court case as the law allows a grace period of two years when the accused are absconding. They took the investigation file to the District Government Attorney's Office on May 6 2019 as the two-year deadline was nearing expiry and filed an attempt to murder case only on May 12.
The police got the case lodged in the court but still did not look for the defendants. The court itself started the procedure to look for defendants.
Registrar at the Kathmandu District Court Ananda Shrestha told Setopati that an arrest warrant is issued when the defendants are liable to be jailed for over three years, and the arrest warrant was duly issued on September 25 giving the defendants 35 days to report to the court. "The court went to the house and put the notice after the police did not produce the defendants," Shrestha stated.
The police are still not taking initiative to arrest Gurung believing that the court will seek his arrest if he does not report within the 35-day deadline. "The case has reached the court. We will take initiative if the court order requires police responsibility," a police officer told Setopati.
Gurung, on his part, conceded that he has received the 35-day notice. "I was not in Kathmandu at the time of incident. The police are also not looking for me," lawmaker Gurung told Setopati. "The court has issued the 35-day notice. I will report to the court."
He will automatically lose the status of lawmaker after the criminal case.
Gurung and other defendants now will directly go to the court and give their statement as the police have not arrested them.