BIRATNAGAR, April 30: Parshuram Basnet, the fugitive mastermind behind the attack on Republica´s Biratnagar-based correspondent Khilanath Dhakal who surrendered to the Morang District Court on Monday, has been released on bail.
A single bench of Justice Chandi Raj Dhakal released Basnet on condition that he would appear before the court as and when summoned. However, the court demanded a bail of Rs 200,000 from Basnet on the case of attack on jailbird Abhishek Giri inside the district court premises.
A mob of Youth Association of Nepal (YAN) cadres had tried to kill Giri, who was in judicial custody for allegedly killing his friend-turned-foe Karan Yadav in 2010, inside the district court premises on June 1, 2011. Basnet, who was the Morang chief of YAN, had organized a press conference immediately after the attack and said that the attack was carried out to pile pressure on the court to not let Giri get off the hook.
YAN cadres Manoj Rai, Rohit Koirala and their inebriated friends had brutally thrashed Dhakal on the night of June 5 for writing an investigative news story in Republica and Nagarik dailies about the court attack which said that Giri and Basnet were partners in crime before they turned enemies. While Rai and Koirala were arrested after the attack, Basnet had been absconding.
Giri´s wife Anisha had filed an attempted murder case against Basnet and 17 others which Morang Police had registered following immense pressure from the civil society and journalists. Morang Chapter of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) had also lodged an attempted murder case against Basnet, Koirala, Rai and others for the attack on Dhakal.
Around half-a-dozen advocates had pleaded on behalf of Basnet following his surrender Monday, while only government attorney Kosh Hari Niraula had pleaded on behalf of Giri and Dhakal. The advocates who were fighting the cases on behalf of Giri and Dhakal did not take part in the hearing saying they were unprepared due to Basnet´s sudden surrender.
The court deemed that available evidences were not sufficient to send Basnet to judicial custody on the court attack case and said that he should be released on bail. "Basnet should be released on date in the attempted murder and abduction case filed by Morang chief of FNJ Bikram Niraula as the available evidences do not establish his involvement," the court order read. Basnet walked free submitting the bail amount immediately after the court order.
Basnet had got himself admitted to Birat Hospital for appendicitis problems after reaching Biratnagar Sunday afternoon. But Morang Police sources claimed that he had got himself admitted at the hospital to ensure that he was not detained if the hearing was not completed on Monday. Basnet had reached the court riding pillion on a motorcycle with a needle for intravenous drips injected on his wrist. He had returned home on a car after the order.
Mukesh Budhathoki and Devanand Yadav -- who were also accused of involvement in the court attack -- had also stayed at Birat Hospital for two months after the district court sent them to judicial custody. Biratnagar Appellate Court later released them on date.
"Congratulations to the journalist friends who tried to implicate me in a fabricated case," Basnet said after the court order. "But the court has done justice." Basnet has been summoned on May 15 for the court attack case and on June 4 for the attack on Dhakal.