Nagarik Unmukti Party lawmaker Arun Kumar Chaudhary, who was found to be on the police's wanted list last week, has been arrested.
Deputy Inspector General Poshraj Pokharel told Setopati that a team from Sudur Paschim Province Police Office arrested Chaudhary from Kohalpur, Banke on Thursday.
Chaudhary was found to be on the police’s wanted list after another accused appeared in court last week.
Chaudhary was elected to the House of Representatives from Kailali-2 in the November 20 elections. He had contested two elections before that and lost on both occasions.
He had lost to Mahadev Bajgain of CPN-UML in the 2017 local elections. He had also run for the provincial assembly the same year but suffered defeat again.
Lawmaker Chaudhary and two others were found guilty in an arson case.
On April 22, 2013, a bench of the then district judge Bishnu Subedi at Kailali District Court had sentenced Arun Chaudhary, Parshuram Chaudhary and Bir Bahadur Chaudhary to six months in prison. The court had also ordered them to pay Rs 819,423.
Bir Bahadur Chaudhary appeared in court last Thursday with an application to pay money in lieu of imprisonment as per Section 155 of the National Criminal Procedure (Code) Act, 2017.
“If, in view of the age of the offender who is convicted, at the first instance, of any offense punishable by a sentence of imprisonment for a term of one year or less, gravity of the offense, manner of commission of the offense and his or her conduct, as well, the court does not consider it appropriate to confine the offender in prison and is of the view that there will be no threat to the public peace, law and order if he or she is released, and the court, for the reasons to be recorded, considers it appropriate to dispense with the requirement of undergoing imprisonment upon payment of a fine in lieu of imprisonment, the court may order that the offender be not liable to undergo imprisonment if he or she makes payment of money in lieu of imprisonment,” Section 155 (1) states.
He had sought to pay Rs 300 per day in lieu of imprisonment, but the court ordered that he be sent to prison, according to Nawaraj Pandeya, section officer at the Kailali District Court.
After Bir Bahadur was sent to prison, it emerged that two others accused in the case were still absconding.
When inquiring who the other two were, lawmaker Arun Chaudhary was also found to be absconding, Pandeya said.
“There were three accused in this. The court found them guilty. But they were absconding since the beginning,” Pandeya said. “They did not appear on the date issued by the court. The court issued its verdict in the case after they did not appear. The incident has now come to light after Bir Bahadur appeared in court.”
According to Pandeya, the arson case dates back to August 19, 2008.
Lawmaker Chaudhary and others had thrashed Sajan Chaudhary and also set fire to the tractor (Lu 2 Ta 211) he was driving when he was returning with stones from Goranga Khola at Chisapani that day.
The tractor belonged to Mahadev Bajgain, who would be elected mayor of Lamki Chuha Municipality in 2017. A case was filed against lawmaker Chaudhary and others based on Bajgain’s complaint.
He had claimed Rs 819,423 in damages for the arson on his tractor. The court had also ordered the accused to pay the claimed amount.
Arun Chaudhary was found guilty of criminal offense but neither did anybody file a complaint against him at the Election Commission when he contested elections nor did the police arrest him for more than nine years.