Rape accused Manoj Pandey in police custody

Nepal Police, on Saturday remanded rape accused Manoj Pandey in custody. He was arrested from Kathmandu on Saturday afternoon after a series of videos published by former model and beauty pageant winner Sushmita Regmi accused one of the organisers of Miss Global International, who is a promoter of a consultancy, of drugging and raping her in 2014. Internet reports later pointed out the rape accused whose name Regmi had not shared publicly to be Pandey – director at Model Global Visas Consultancy.

Sushmita Regmi, who was 16 at the time she was raped, and further sexually blackmailed and exploited for a period of six months, on Wednesday published a series of video unfolding her harrowing experience. Called to a hotel on the pretext of a ‘success party’ of the beuaty pageant, she has alleged Pandey drugged and raped her. According to Regmi, he raped and sexually exploitated her for 6 months, until she finally put a stop to it by going to the organiser’s office and exposing him.

After her videos were watched by members of the public – they demanded action. Only to be raged by the fact that Nepal’s statute of limitations on rape cases could prevent Sushmita from getting justice. Rape victims have one year to file a case from the date of offence before the statute of limitation expires. In the case of minors, they have one year from the date of their eighteenth birthday. Unfortunately, Sushmita was unaware of the statute of limitations.

Mounting public pressure, and lawmaker Gagan Thapa’s attention to the grave incident at the Parliament on Friday, while highlighting the role of the statute of limitations as an impediment for victims availing justice, has caught the government’s attention to the case – including Speaker Agni Sapkota’s advise to authorities to look into the case.

Nepal Police will now investigate the allegations, and on the basis of that, a further course of action will be determined.