After completing their first five days in custody, Rabi Lamichhane, Yuvraj Kandel and Asmita Karki were presented before Chitwan District Court on Wednesday. While the lawyers representing the trio asked the judge to release the charged, the government lawyer asked for a 10 day extension to continue ‘investigation’ – the judge gave him five.
Therefore, the trio will be held in police custody for five more days.
Meanwhile, Nikita Poudel, wife of Rabi Lamichhane lodged a complaint against three individuals at District Police Office, Chitwan. The three have been identified as SP Dan Bahadur Malla, chief of District Police Office, Chitwan, acting president of Nepal Press Council and editor of Jana Aastha Weekly Kishor Shrestha and Sanket Koirala, editor of www.nepalaaja.com, a news portal.
She charged the three with ‘tampering of evidence’ – the narrative is that the DSP handed out the videos to the journalists in question, and the two released the video via their news portal (after altering the contents of the video). Shrestha, in an earlier Facebook post said he received the videos from ‘family members of the deceased. He also said that he received two clips, which he merged into one.’
No action has been initiated against the charged three yet. Earlier, Nikita Poudel had tried to register a case against the three at Kathmandu, however was unable to as the case was ongoing and under the purview of Chitwan District Police station.
In another post by Nikita Poudel, wife of Rabi Lamichhane, she has expressed concern about the welfare of Rabi Lamichhane. According to the post, Rabi Lamichhane spoke to his wife about concerns of his welfare – he told her that although he felt safe with the police earlier, he does not feel the same way now. He also told her that ‘he believes the police and authorities were deliberately delaying his investigation, which has officially affected the proceedings.
Lamichhane is a popular TV journalist, Kandel a fellow journalist, and Ashmita Karki practices nursing. The trio were picked up by police after a video by Shalikram Pudasaini, a journalist and former colleague of Lamichhane surfaced on social media. In the video, Pudasaini accuses the three of ‘leading him towards depression’, allegedly encouraging him to commit suicide.