Provincial assembly member from Manang-B Rajeev Gurung aka Deepak Manange looks set to lose his post after a five-year sentence slapped by the Patan Appellate Court on him five years ago for attempted murder has been revealed at the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday.
As it appears gangster Manange, who won the election with support of CPN-UML, will have to suffer due to the case in which co-accused and fellow gangster Ganesh Lama of Nepali Congress (NC) got a clean chit.
The Patan Appellate Court in 2013 had sentenced Manange for five years in an attempt to murder case for the attack on another gangster Chakre Milan in 2005. The Patan Appellate Court had given clean chit to co-accused Ganesh Lama, Umesh Lama, Rewat Karki and Ramesh Sunuwar. Public prosecutors then moved the SC against the clean chit given to the four co-accused demanding punishment against them.
But the sentence against Manange was not enforced and he became provincial legislator of Province 4 winning the recent election from Manang-B. The unimplemented guilty verdict against Manange came to the fore only on Tuesday when an advocate reached the SC bench of Deepak Raj Joshi and Purushottam Bhandari—that was hearing the case filed by the public prosecutors demanding punishment against the four acquitted by the Patan Appellate Court—pleading that his client Manange did not know about the verdict, consequently was not aware of the expiry of deadline of appeal, and hence could not appeal against the guilty verdict.
“You are not defendant on this case. The Patan Appellate Court’s verdict will be final for you,” the bench told the lawyer. The SC endorsed the Patan Appellate Court’s verdict giving clean chit to the four co-accused but has told Manange’s lawyer that the 70-day deadline, that is given to every accused to appeal court verdict, has already expired.
A public notice has also already been issued for implementation of the verdict against Manange and the Patan Appellate Court’s verdict, therefore, will have to be implemented. Attempted murder is a criminal charge and he will lose his post of provincial assembly member after this.
Article 178(d) of the Constitution about qualification for provincial assembly member says the person should not have been punished for any criminal offense involving moral turpitude. His candidacy would also have been revoked had anyone complained against his candidacy before the election. Clause 13(e) of the Provincial Assembly Election Act says any person deemed guilty of murder case can become candidate only six years after completion of the sentence.
Manange, who won the election with kid as electoral symbol, will lose his post now and there should be a reelection.
A gang led by Manange had attacked Chakre Milan with sword in 2005. Milan’s hand was chopped into two pieces and was later stitched together. Milan’s wife Indira Gandhi filed an attempted murder case against Manange and others in the Kathmandu District Court.
The Kathmandu District Court deemed it to be a case of affray and slapped a two-year sentence on a few. Public prosecutors then moved the Patan Appellate Court against the verdict demanding greater sentence against the accused arguing it was an attempted murder case.
The Patan Appellate Court in 2013 found Manange guilty of attempted murder and sentenced him for five years while giving clean chit to the four co-accused. Public prosecutors were satisfied with the verdict against Manange and moved the SC in 2014 only against the acquitted four.