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SC nixes prez pardon granted to convict Regal

SC nixes prez pardon granted to convict Regal

Police on Thursday arrested Yograj Dhakal Regal, a convict who had been serving a 20-year term in a murder case, from Setu BK Chowk in Nepalgunj after the Supreme Court revoked the presidential pardon granted to him, ordering his re-arrest and imprisonment. Regal is now in the custody of the Banke district police office. 

A full bench of judges Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada, Sapana Malla Pradhan and Kumar Chudal overruled the leniency granted to Regal, arguing that the decision to spare Regal the rest of his jail term was in violation of the rights of his victims and ordering government authorities to send him to prison immediately for serving the rest of his term.

President Ramchandra Paudel, acting on a recommendation from the Council of Ministers, had pardoned Regal on the occasion of the Constitution Day, sparing him the remaining term of 11 years, 11 months and five days.

Bharati Sherpa, wife of Chetan Manandhar, the murder victim, had objected to the presidential pardon and moved the apex court stating that the release was against the Constitution.   

The Office of the President, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, Ministry of Home Affairs and the District Administration Office, Banke were made the defendants in the case.

Subsequently, the apex court had ordered the government to furnish written clarifications regarding its decision to grant amnesty to Dhakal

The court had ordered the authorities to submit to it the copies of all relevant decisions related to the case and ordered the Attorney-General to appear before the court in person on the day of the hearing.

A gangster and the then president of Tarun Dal Banke-3, Regal used to extort transporters operating Nepal-India bus services. On 24 April 2018, a bench of Banke district court judge Bishnu Subedi had convicted Regal as the mastermind behind the 13 July 2015 murder of Manandhar at a hotel in Surkhet Road area and sentenced him to 20 years behind bars.

Regal, at large after the murder, had surrendered before the court after police launched a series of encounters against gangsters.

The SC judgment against the presidential pardon states that consent of the victims’ side must also be taken while granting presidential pardons in accordance with relevant laws.

Meanwhile, Chetan’s wife Bharati, who had been staging a hunger strike at Maitighar Mandala since October 4 against the pardon, broke her fast after the court verdict. Bharati said she was grateful to the court for delivering justice.