The Patna Sessions Court in Bihar on Friday acquitted all the 11 Nepali Maoist leaders who were charged with anti-India activities and conspiracy to overthrow a regime in Kathmandu.
The acquittal follows an intervention by the Central government of India at the request of the Nepal government. The issue, which once had a ripple effect on the political class in Kathmandu, has ended after about eight years.
“…considering the cordial ties between India and Nepal, I accorded consent to the Bihar government’s decision to withdraw prosecution of the accused 11 persons (Maoist leaders),” read the verdict issued by Additional Session Judge Vashistha Narayan Singh.
Public Prosecutor Jay Prakash Singh said their hard work paid off. “All the concerned authorities of the Bihar government worked very hard for early acquittal of the Nepali Maoist leaders. I am confident that the decision will help strengthen friendly ties between the two countries,” Singh told the Post over phone from Patna.
Prior to the petition filed by the Bihar government with a request to withdraw the cases on Wednesday, the hearing was scheduled for March 17. Following the Bihar government’s request, the court heard the case and issued a verdict one and a half months before the slated time.
The verdict has come as a great relief for the Maoist leaders— Chitra Bahadur Shrestha, Lokendra Bista, Kul Bahadur KC, Kumar Dahal, Hit Bahadur Tamang, Anil Sharma, Dilip Maharjan, Ranju Thapa, Suman Tamang, Shyam Kishor Prasad Yadav and Min Prasad—who were arrested in 2004 from different places in Patna when the Maoist insurgency was at its peak in Nepal.
Though they were released on bail in 2006 by the Patna High Court, the Maoist leaders did not appear before the District Court for trial after their party joined peaceful politics the same year. Their failure to appear before the court led to the issuance of non-bailable warrants against them twice including one in September 2011.
Following the warrant, the Nepal government requested India to withdraw the cases. And four months ago, New Delhi had written to Patna to address Nepal’s request.