Thu, 05 Oct 2023

Kathmandu [Nepal], August 26 (ANI): The minor rape victim in the case involving star Nepal cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane attempted suicide on the eve of the expected final hearing, informed the police.

The star cricketer who led the national cricket team has been accused of raping a minor multiple times in a hotel room in Kathmandu on August 21.

The police said that'Gaushala-26' - the name given to the minor who was allegedly raped by Lamichhane - attempted suicide through a medicine overdose and is admitted to a hospital in Kathmandu earlier Saturday.

"She consumed medicine exceeding the limits prescribed by doctors. She is said to have had a panic attack for a few days because of which she took medicines exceeding the dosage prescribed by the doctors. Her condition is out of danger and is at a private hospital in Kathmandu," the spokespersonfor the Kathmandu District Police Range, Kumod Dhungel confirmed ANI over the phone.

As per the police official, the victim was having constant panic attacks for a few days and on Saturday attempted suicide as the final verdict over the case is expected for Sunday.

The hearing over the case has been differed time and again providing various reasons and circumstances resulting in the delay in the final verdict. The victim still running in her teenage has been kept at a woman's shelter and is seeking psychological counselling.

The Kathmandu District Court is expected to deliver a verdict on the case on Sunday over the case.

Meanwhile, the rape-accused cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane is preparing to fly to Pakistan on Sunday to join Nepal's squad that will be playing in the Asia Cup starting August 30.

Amid the uncertainty over the court verdict, the preparation of Lamichhane to fly off the nation has raised concern and speculation that the hearing might differ again.

Earlier on February 23, the Apex Court had ordered to conclude the case through fast fast-track process but the hearing has been on hold as it has continued to differ providing different occasions.

The court earlier paused the hearing after the former national team captain travelled to Zimbabwe to participate in the World Cup qualifiers.

Lamichhane who stayed behind bars for a few months was released on bail and later allowed to travel abroad.

Earlier, the hearings were kept on hold to let him play international games, now being back in Nepal the hearings have snarled.

The Patan High Court on January 12 had repelled the order of Kathmandu District Court to send Lamichhane to judicial custody in the case of raping a minor citing lack of grounds to keep him in custody. He was released on a bail of 2 million Nepalese Rupees the next day.

At the time of release, the Patan High Court had granted bail under five conditions which included prohibition on abroad travels. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) had appealed with the Supreme Court (SC) against the Patan High Court's order to release him on a bail of 2 million Nepalese Rupees.

The OAG in its appeal has argued that the Patan High Court's order to release Lamichhane on bail is against legal provisions and the SC's interpretation during bail hearing in cases of similar nature.

Notably, Clause 27 of the National Criminal Procedure (Code) Act, 2017 has clear provision for holding the accused of any offence which is punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding three years in detention if based on the evidence available the accused appears to be guilty of the offence or there is any reasonable ground, based on such evidence, to believe that such person is guilty of the offence.

However, Lamichhane was released on bail despite sub-section 3 (d) of Section 219 of the National Penal (Code) Act, 2017 stating that a person who commits rape shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of 10-12 years if the woman is 16 or comes in the age bracket of 16-18. The victim in the case is 17 years old.

Lamichhane had also moved the SC demanding he be allowed to travel with the national team to the UAE to play ICC Men's Cricket World Cup League, two matches against the UAE and Papua New Guinea at the end of February.

The joint bench of Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Kumar Chudal after conducting a joint hearing of the petition by Lamichhane and the OAG's appeal had ordered on February 27 to allow Lamichhane to go to the UAE.

The District Government Attorney's Office (DGAO), Kathmandu had registered a case against Lamichhane charging him with raping a minor.

Police had investigated Lamichhane under Section 219 of the National Penal (Code) Act, 2017 after a 17-year-old girl filed a rape complaint against him.

The Kathmandu DGAO has demanded a prison sentence of up to 12 years against Lamichhane as per sub-section 3 (d) of Section 219.

Lamichhane has denied the rape allegation in his statements to the DGAO and police. He has admitted to staying with the girl in the same room of a hotel in Kathmandu on August 21. But he has said that the girl had slept on the bed and he had slept on a chair that night.

The 17-year-old victim filed a rape complaint against Lamichhane at the Gaushala Police Circle on September 6, 2022.

The girl has complained that Lamichhane took her out to different places in Bhaktapur and Kathmandu on August 21, a day before Lamichhane left for the bilateral series with Kenya.

She has accused Lamichhane of raping her multiple times in room number 305 of a hotel in Kathmandu Metropolitan City Ward Number 9 that night.

The Police have also collected CCTV footage of the night from the hotel. The footage shows that Lamichhane had stayed at the hotel for seven hours.

The girl has claimed in her complaint that she had gone to Nagarkot with Lamichhaneon on August 17 after being introduced to him through a friend.

Lamichhane left to play in the Caribbean Premier League on August 22 after leading the team to a 3-2 victory in the five-match Twenty20 series against Kenya. Rohit Kumar Paudel then led the Nepali team in the one-dayers in his absence.

An arrest warrant was issued against Lamichhane on September 8, 2022 and the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) suspended him from the national team the same day after issuance of the arrest warrant.

The Nepal Police later also issued a diffusion notice against him through Interpol on September 26.

Section 219 (2) of the National Penal (Code) Act, 2017 states:"Where a man has sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent or with a girl child below eighteen years of age even with her consent, the man shall be considered to commit rape on such woman or girl child". (ANI)

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