Court focuses on man who had brawl with Nepal’ ex-crown prince

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

KATHMANDU - While Nepal’s deposed crown prince Paras Bir Bikram Shah was turned into a hero by his supporters and released on bail after a drunken brawl in a jungle resort earlier this month, his alleged victim now faces the spotlight with the country’s apex court asking the government to explain whether it was sheltering him.

The Supreme Court has ordered the prime minister, deputy prime minister, home minister and other ministries concerned to show cause within 15 days why they failed to take any action against Rubel Chowdhury, the Bangladeshi national who hit the headlines after having a brawl with Paras, despite media reports that he had masterminded a series of frauds that cost the state a loss of millions of rupees.

Chowdhury is the son-in-law of Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala and the allegations say investigations into crimes that led to Chowdhury’s trail were dropped due to his high political connections.

The court order came Monday in response to a writ filed by a royalist, Daindra Bahadur Thakuri. Thakuri is a district chief of Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, the only party in parliament seeking the restoration of monarchy.

Thakuri’s petition says that media reports alleging Chowdhury brokered a deal for the police to buy substandard armoured vehicles for police personnel deployed in UN peacekeeping operations in Sudan should be investigated.

He also says a parliamentary committee found irregularities in the deal that cost Nepal a loss of millions of rupees and yet the government failed to carry out an investigation.

He is also seeking an investigation into media reports that said Chowdhury had been masterminding a massive international phone call racket that bypassed the telecom authorities and amassed millions.

So far, 12 Bangladeshis have been arrested by police, who say these are just small cogs. The masterminds are yet to be touched.

On the day the court asked the ministries named in Thakuri’s petition to show cause, police busted yet another call bypass racket and arrested four people, including three Bangladeshis.

While Chowdhury, who has been living in Nepal for nearly three years after marrying Koirala’s daughter Melanie, has remained silent, the media outcry has been dismissed by Koirala as baseless and attempts to defame her and her son-in-law.

The legal action against Chowdhury came after he became involved in a drunken dispute with Paras in a wildlife resort in southern Nepal.

Initially, Chowdhury had said Paras whipped out his gun, pointed it at his head and threatened to kill him and his wife and son.

However, after police arrested Paras in an unprecedented turn of events, Chowdhury declined to lodge a formal complaint against him.

He also denied having seen Paras bring out a gun. The denial forced the police to temper the charge against Paras from attempt to murder to merely disturbing the peace.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at

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