No headway in Chhori Maiya’s case
KATHMANDU, AUG 19 -
With just two days remaining before the term of a government committee to investigate the case of Chhori Maiya Maharjan ends, relatives of the missing woman are growing increasingly worried. The panel formed last Tuesday by the Home Ministry has not got any lead.
The committee, coordinated by Home Ministry Joint Secretary Gokarna Mani Duwadi, has not yielded any results, owing to a weak investigation and little evidence available so far, said one of its members on condition of anonymity. The panel was formed after Maharjan’s family staged a relay hunger strike, demanding that the government find the Chhori Maiya’s whereabouts at the earliest. Before going on the hunger strike, the family had fixed an appointment with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. However, after the PM cancelled the appointment citing personal reasons, the Maharjan family submitted a memorandum to the prime minister’s personal secretary with a three-day ultimatum.
The 51-year-old woman has been missing since February 28. After a police complaint was lodged, prime suspect Surakshya Singh aka Nikki was arrested. Acquainted with the Maharjan family for 20 years, Nikki was discovered to have taken loans worth Rs 5 million from Chhori Maiya. However, Nikki was released on Rs 100,000 bail by the Kathmandu District Court.
Ever since her release, the police investigation has gone murky, with no particular headway on the whereabouts of the missing woman.
“As far as we are concerned, there are political reasons behind the police inaction and Nikki’s release,” said Sudha, Chhori Maiya’s daughter. “Nikki is the younger sister of businessman Dipak Malhotra, who has close ties to Home Minister Bijay Gachhadar.” Before the scheduled meeting with PM Bhattarai,
the family were also denied appointments with high-level police officials. However, owing to massive media criticism, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Rabindra Pratap Shah met with the family on July 17.
Meanwhile, another committee member said investigations so far pointed to none other than Nikki, but no action had been taken due to lack of evidence. “The case has gone political and it is very difficult to investigate freely,” the source said.
“We need call details and IMEI codes off the mobile phone that Nikki had been using prior to Chhori Maiya’s disappearance. However, since Nikki claims she has lost the phone, things are difficult for us.”
Posted on: 2012-08-19 08:45