Nagarik Unmukti Party leader and former lawmaker Resham Chaudhary has been released from the Dilli Bajar Jail Monday morning after being granted presidential pardon on Sunday.
Nagarik Unmukti Party Chair and Minister for Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Ranjeeta Shrestha Chaudhary--who is also his wife--reached the jail to welcome him on his release.
Talking to reporters immediately after release Resham Chaudhary has said that the Tikapur incident should again be investigated.
President Ram Chandra Paudel granted pardon to 482 convicts including Resham Chaudhary as per the Cabinet’s recommendation on the occasion of Republic Day on Monday.
Spokesperson at the President’s Office Shailaja Regmi Bhattarai issuing a statement Sunday evening has informed that presidential pardon has been granted to 482 convicts. The Cabinet had recommended presidential pardon for Chaudhary earlier on Sunday.
The President’s Office statement arrived just a couple of hours after the Supreme Court (SC) was moved demanding cancelation of the Cabinet’s recommendation for presidential pardon to Chaudhary.
SC spokesperson Bimal Paudel said that Sharada Kadayat Bohara brought a petition on behalf of families of victims of the 2015 Tikapur incident demanding cancellation of the Cabinet’s recommendation. Sharada is the wife of police inspector Keshav Bohara, who was killed in the incident.
On May 16, the SC upheld the Dipayal High Court’s verdict to slap a life sentence on Chaudhary over the Tikapur incident.
A joint bench of Justices Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Nahakul Subedi endorsed the lower court’s verdict to slap a life sentence on Chaudhary saying the defendant’s appeal for acquittal was not justified.
The SC verdict arrived less than a week after the government registered an amendment to the Criminal Code 2017 to withdraw cases of Chaudhary and leaders and cadres of the CK Raut-led Janamat Party and Netra Bikram Chand’s party.
Nagarik Unmukti Party has four lawmakers in the House of Representatives. Party chaiperson Ranjita Shrestha is the minister for land management, cooperatives and poverty alleviation. Shrestha is Chaudhary’s wife.
Chaudhary is one of the main accused of the Tikapur incident in which eight police personnel including an SSP of Nepal Police and a toddler were lynched on August 24, 2015.
The Kailali District Court slapped a life sentence on Chaudhary over the Tikapur incident and the Dipayal High Court endorsed the life sentence.
Chaudhary, who had been absconding after the Kailali killings, surrendered before the Kailali District Court on February 26, 2018. He has been serving his life sentence at Dilli Bazar Jail since then.
He was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives on January 3, 2019, even as the case was sub judice in the district court. He remained in judicial custody and was not allowed to attend the House meeting even after being sworn in. He lost the post of lawmaker after the district court slapped a life sentence on him.
Chaudhary had filed candidacy for federal parliament in 2017 from Kailali-1 on a Rastriya Janata Party ticket through an agent. He had won the election by a margin of around 19,000 votes securing 34,341 votes.
The government had filed a case against Chaudhary in the Kailali District Court considering him to be one of the main accused of the Tikpaur incident. The Supreme Court in December 2017 had refused to register a writ petition he tried to file through an agent on his behalf demanding he be released on date.
The single bench of Justice Tanka Moktan had ordered Chaudhary to seek legal remedy through the court if he were innocent when he again moved the SC against the administration's decision to not register his petition. "The applicant must get acquittal through a legal process of the court if he were not guilty and the charges against him were false," the bench had said. "Knowingly allowing an accused a means of receiving the facilities and rights provided by the state by evading or defying the court process will promote impunity in the country," the bench had said.
The Kailali District Court then had slapped a life sentence on him and the Dipayal High Court had endorsed the district court verdict.