The Kathmandu District Court on Friday convicted national cricket captain Sandeep Lamichhane of rape. A single bench of judge Shishir Raj Dhakal convicted Lamichhane after concluding that he had raped Gushala-26 (name changed) in a Tilganga-based hotel on August 21, 2022. It is mentioned in the brief verdict that the victim was raped by taking advantage of her weak financial condition. Also, the court has certified the victimised girl as an adult.
He will be jailed for a minimum of seven years and a maximum of 10 years, according to legal experts. A hearing scheduled for January 10 will determine Lamichhane’s jail term. When 22 year old Lamichhane went to play in the Caribbean League on 6 September 2022, a girls had lodged a complaint against him in the Gaushala police circle alleging that she was raped.
Lamichhane was accused of taking the victim from Kathmandu to Nagarkot on 21 August 2022, after returning late at night, she stayed in the same room with Sandeep at Hotel Kathmandu Inn in Sinamangal and had physical relationship without her consent. He was arrested at Tribhuvan Airport when he returned home on October 6, 2022.
The Kathmandu District Court on November 4, 2022, had passed the order to send Lamichhane to the Sundhara-based central jail after a detention hearing. Lamichhane had moved the high court challenging the order. The Kathmandu District Attorney’s Office filed a case against Lamichhane accusing him of raping the girl on August 21.
He was suspended as Nepal’s captain last year and taken into custody after police issued an arrest warrant for him over the assault. He was later released on bail.
Earlier on February 27 the Supreme Court (SC) issued an order allowing rape-accused cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane to travel to foreign countries to play cricket matches.
Sandeep is Nepal’s most high-profile cricketer, and the first player from Nepal to play in the Indian Premier League when he made his debut for the Delhi Capitals franchise in 2018.
However, the Kathmandu District Court’s verdict has given some advantage to Sandeep as it has specified the victim’s age as 18, declaring her an adult, when the incident occurred. Legal experts point out that this has given some leverage to Sandeep, who could file a case to against the district court’s verdict in the high court.