The Pokhara High Court has acquitted actor Paul Shah of rape charge.
Senior advocate Kamal Mohan Wagle, Shah’s lawyer, told Setopati that Shah will be released from Tanahun District Prison on Monday following his acquittal on Sunday.
After a hearing on appeals filed by the District Government Attorney’s Office and Shah against the Nawalpur District Court’s order in the minor rape case, the High Court acquitted Shah citing insufficient evidence to prove the charge.
A single bench of Nawalpur District Court Judge Yagya Prasad Acharya had acquitted Shah of rape charge on September 6, 2022 but sentenced him to two and a half years in prison and fined him Rs 25,000 for child sexual abuse and also ordered him to pay Rs 1 million in reparation to the victim.
The District Government Attorney’s Office and Shah had appealed at the Pokhara High Court against the decision.
The Tanahun District Court had also acquitted Shah of rape charge on January 17.
A single bench of Judge Komal Prasad Acharya had acquitted Shah of the rape charge stating that the accusation could not be proved.
A rape complaint was filed against Shah by a then 17-year-old singer with the District Police Office, Tanahun on February 23, 2022. He surrendered before the Tanahun Police four days later. The family had also lodged another complaint with the Nawalpur Police on February 27. The minor's family had lodged the rape complaints alleging that Shah raped her in Pokhara, Tanahun and Nawalpur.
Shah was accused by the singer, who is a minor and cannot legally give consent for sex, of having sex with her promising to marry her in the future.
The singer had reached the Kaski Police complaining that Shah had sexually abused her a month before that. Shah seems to have tried to reach a settlement after the Kaski Police refused to register the complaint citing lack of jurisdiction and advised the girl to go to the Tanahun Police instead as the alleged incident happened in Tanahun.
The Tanahun District Court had then sent Shah to judicial custody on March 24 after he conceded that he had reached her room at midnight after getting drunk despite denying that he raped her.
The minor then had turned hostile and claimed in her statement to the Tanahun District Court that Shah did not rape her.