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 Chhori Maiya missing for 4 months, kin on pins and needles
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Posted on 07-17-12 1:09 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Chhori Maiya missing for 4 months, kin on pins and needles


A desperate hunt for Chhori Maiya Maharjan from pillar   to post has been continuing for the past four months and yet police say their investigation has not led to any clues on the 51-year old’s whereabouts since her disappearance on February 28.

Chhori Maiya’s family blame police’s “deliberate” inaction for not tracing her whereabouts. Her daughter Sudha claims that the case has gone political as the people behind her mother’s disappearance have “relations with powerful politicians”.

“The police were confident about tracing my mother during the first 15 days of her disappearance,” said Sudha, referring to the arrest of “prime suspect” Surakshya Singh aka ‘Nikki’. “After Nikki’s detention, investigators at the Metropolitan Police Crime Investigation Division (MPCID) assured us that my mother would be back in no more than a couple of days.” However, after parts of Nikki’s sworn statement did not add up in court, she was released on Rs 100,000 bail. “It looks as if the police have done nothing since Nikki’s release.”

According to Sudha, a number of amendments were made to Nikki’s original statement when presented before court. For instance, while Nikki herself had admitted to being acquainted with the Maharjans for 20 years, her court statement mentioned that their relations had been for hardly eight or nine years.

It has come to light that Nikki is the younger sister of Dipak Malhotra, chairman of International Marketing Services (IMS), the sole authorised distributor of Samsung Mobiles in Nepal. Malhotra is said to have close connections with Home Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar.

“When we tried to ask police about all these connections, they remain indifferent, as if nothing has happened,” said Sudha. Some police officials instead gave examples of past justice, as in the prosecution of DIG Ranjan Koirala, who murdered his wife and political leaders who have been arrested on corruption charges. According to DSP Rabindra Bahadur Dhanuk of the MPCID, police are still trying to find leads in the case. “We are still unable to locate the whereabouts of the missing woman,” said Dhanuk. However, the DSP did not comment on the arrest and release of Nikki. “We have nothing to do with Nikki’s case as it has already been forwarded to the court.”

According to Sudha, her mother left their house in the morning of February 28 to visit Nikki at Baneshwor. However, she did not return, instead texted Sudha saying that she was at Manakamana and would return home the next day. Since then her mobile phone was switched off. Chhori Maiya’s worried family contacted Nikki when she didn’t return the following day either, but she told them that Chhori Maiya would be home in a couple of days.

Smelling fishy the family registered a missing case at the Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, which later forwarded the matter to the MPCID. Police detained Nikki on April 11 after a First Information Report (FIR) was lodged against her by the Maharjan family.

Investigators discovered that Nikki had borrowed around Rs 5 million from Chhori Maiya. According to Sudha, Nikki would borrow money from her mother to invest in a dhukuti, a mutual community finance scheme popular in the Nepali society where lending and borrowing is done at high interest rates. After police failed to produce any substantial results, the

victim’s family knocked on politicians’ doors, including the prime minister’s, but to no avail. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on April 15 had pledged to press the police to carry out a rigorous investigation into the case.

“We are not going to stay like this too long,” said Ganapati Lal Shrestha, member of a committee comprising of Basantapur locals struggling on behalf of Chhori Maiya and her family. “If the police administration stays silent before political pressure, we will have to take charge and hit the streets. We cannot be denied justice.


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