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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Charlie's Devils

Charles Sobhraj is nabbed while on a life and crimes revisited trip to Nepal. Another life term looms.

Charlie's Devils
AP
Charlie's Devils
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
I have never been to Nepal before, nor have I been to India," Charles Sobhraj insisted when he was produced before the immigration authorities in Kathmandu on September 20. This incredible statement formed the core of the answers the master criminal produced confidently to every question put to him by immigration director Khumraj Khunjali. To the media waiting outside, he calmly claimed that he has not murdered anyone in Nepal. When reminded about his having confessed before the Delhi high court in 1976 that he had killed tourists in Kathmandu, he replied: "I have never been to Delhi either." But then, the mind of Charles Sobhraj Gurumukh has always remained an enigma.

The 58-year-old conman, jewel thief, drug dealer and murderer had arrived in Kathmandu on September 1 on a French passport and checked into the Garden Hotel in the Naya Bazaar area. On the night of September 19, he was arrested at the Royal Casino in the Yak Yeti Hotel following reports in local newspapers about his presence in the city. But Sobhraj had reason to be optimistic about his release after the interrogation. After all, even the police seemed befuddled initially about which law he should be tried under. Besides, Sobhraj, a Vietnamese-Indian who's now a French national, was well aware of Nepal's poor record-keeping system for past crimes and court cases.

But the best-laid schemes of mice 'n men.... Sobhraj's fortunes changed for the worse within a day. A retired inspector of police who had interrogated him way back in December 1975 called up Nepal's largest circulated daily, Kantipur, to give a blow-by-blow account of what had transpired 28 years ago. Bishwal Lal Shrestha said he had interrogated Sobhraj twice within 24 hours of two mysterious murders in Kathmandu—on December 21 and again on December 23, 1975. Connie Jo Bronzich, a US national, was killed on December 21...
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