Pradeep Rawal and Bishal Chaudhari, the latest suspects in Nirmala Pant murder mystery—both of whom have allegedly confessed to the crime—had been arrested in a petty theft case on the day 13-year-old Nirmala was murdered after rape.
According to police, Rawal was taken to custody from Bhimdutta Municipality-18, Kanchanpur, at around 10 am on July 26 on suspicion of stealing a chicken and Rs 300 from a shop the night before.
Kanchanpur district police chief SP Kuber Kadayat said Rawal was briefly held in custody for questioning.
“Rawal was detained for about an hour and released after he was ruled out as a suspect,” SP Kadayat said.
The second suspect, Chaudhari, was arrested at around 4 pm on the day Nirmala was murdered. Like Rawal, police had detained Chaudhari for questioning over the chicken-stealing case. He was released the next morning at the presence of his parents.
According to Nirmala’s autopsy report, she was murdered sometime between 2 and 3 pm on July 26.
If the autopsy report and police statement are to be believed, then Rawal was involved in the rape and murder of Nirmala, his neighbour, just hours after he was released from police custody, and Chaudhari had just returned home after committing a horrific crime when police came knocking at his door and took him to the station to question him over stolen chicken and some money.
SP Kadayat said both Rawal and Chaudhari have admitted to their involvement in Nirmala’s murder during interrogation.
“They have confessed to the crime, but investigators still trying to get incriminating evidence to prove their guilt,” he said.
The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police is still questioning Chaudhari, who was taken to Kathmandu on Thursday following Rawal’s arrest.
Chuadhari’s father Bir Bahadur has meanwhile claimed that police drugged his son and made him admit guilt for a crime that he did not commit.
“When I was allowed to meet my son after he had supposedly confessed to the crime, he was clearly unwell, like he was intoxicated. His face had turned red,” he said.