The Kathmandu District Court based acquittal of former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara in the attempt to rape case on the fact that the complainant was under depression medications and later turned hostile.
The full text of the verdict by the bench of Justice Amar Raj Paudel on February 17 has mentioned these things along with the lack of evidence. "There is no ground to establish offense that the accused went to the rented apartment of victim complainant in the evening on September 29, 2019, drank alcohol and assaulted her and attempted to rape her as the victim in her statement has said she suffers from depression and was unconscious on the day and time of the said incident due to medicines and alcohol, don't know whom she talked to on the phone and what she did, and the defendant did not come to her apartment,'" the full text states. "Defendant Krishna Bahadur Mahara deems to get acquittal from the charge claim in lack of evidence."
The verdict states that the statement of Dr Ahana Shrestha who did medical examination of the victim also states that the victim told her that Mahara punched the victim and sprained fingers but did not resort to sexual harassment. Dr Shrestha also told the court that the victim was under medications for depression for eight years and was referred to psychiatrists.
The court seems to have reached the conclusion that the victim made the accusations under influence of the depression medications on the basis of the statements of the experts.
The public prosecutors had also presented the victim's statement to the doctor who did her medical examination as a strong evidence.
"…and he hit on my face several times. He fled from the kitchen's door after I tugged at his trousers and said I will complain to the police. He was inebriated when he did that to me," the charge sheet had quoted the victim's statement to the doctors.
The court has deemed the details given by the victim to the police after dialing 100 as that given when she was not conscious.
The court, however, has not spoken anything about the broken spectacles recovered from the site of incident whose power was similar to that used by Mahara, and merely mentioned that Mahara's finger prints could not be found on them. Forensic experts Shikhar Raj Kunwar and Maiya Devi Darlami had also told the court that the fingerprints on the bottle of whiskey and glass were not clear and hence could not be matched.
The court has also refused to consider the victim's video interview given to journalist Ajay Babu Shiwakoti as evidence. It has also refused to consider statement of security persons who reached the victim's apartment along with Mahara, and statement the victim gave to lawmaker Uma Pandey over the phone on the night of incident that would have established that Mahara had gone to the victim's apartment that night.
"The statement given by the team that did the victim's medical examination showed that she had bruises on her face, and injuries on hands. There was the first statement given to the police and also the evidence of the matching power of the spectacles found there with that of Mahara's," an officer with the Office of the Attorney General told Setopati. "Physical assault after resistance to the attempt to rape would have been established if these things were considered as evidence."
Mahara was arrested on October 6, 2019 on charge of attempting to rape federal parliament secretariat staffer Roshni Shahi at her rented apartment on September 29.
Mahara had resigned from the post of speaker after the allegations following pressure from CPN leadership but had not resigned as lawmaker and was suspended when the case was sub judice. He continues to serve as House of Representatives (HoR) member after his acquittal on February 17.
Mahara had earlier appealed against the Kathmandu District Court order on November 4, 2019 to send him to prison during the course of case deeming that he seems to have attempted to rape Shahi.
But the Patan High Court on December 20, 2019 endorsed the decision of Kathmandu District Court stating Mahara cannot be released on the basis of available evidence, and instructed the district court to conclude the case within a month.
Recording of Mahara's statement was completed on November 1. He claimed that he reached near Shahi's apartment that evening but did not meet the victim.