Charles Sobhraj saga: A Timeline

Last Updated: Friday, July 30, 2010 - 21:59

Kathmandu: Hatchand Bhaonani Gurumukh
Charles Sobhraj, better known as Charles Sobhraj, whose life
sentence was today upheld by Nepal`s Supreme Court in a 1975
murder case, has spent much of his life in and out of prison
for a series of offences.

The following is a summary of his arrests and
convictions:

In 1963, at the age of 19, Sobhraj received his first
jail sentence for burglary in France. He served 3 years in
Poissy prison in Paris before being paroled.

In 1969, he was again sent for 8 months to prison for
car theft and evading police.

In 1973, Sobhraj committed an armed robbery at a
jewellery shop in Hotel Ashoka, New Delhi, but was arrested
and sent to prison.

However, he escaped from prison faking illness, but
was re-captured shortly afterwards. He borrowed money for bail
from his stepfather in Saigon, Vietnam, and soon after fled to
Kabul.

The same year, he was arrested there for robbing
tourists on the "hippie trail". But he escaped the same way he
had in India.

The next two years, Sobhraj was on the run, using as
many as 10 stolen passports and visiting several countries in
East Europe and the Middle East.

In 1975, he was joined by his younger brother Andre in
Istanbul. The duo quickly became partners in many crimes in
both Turkey and Greece. They were eventually arrested in
Athens but Shobraj escaped leaving his brother to serve an
18-year sentence.

In 1976, Shobraj was arrested and sentenced to 12
years of prison term in Delhi for the murder of French tourist
Jean-Luc Solomon.

In 1986, he drugged guards with sedative-laced sweets
and walked out of New Delhi`s high-security Tihar jail.

His audacious escape from Tihar earned him an extended
sentence when he was recaptured -- a scenario some believe
Sobhraj had engineered to avoid extradition to Thailand where
there was a murder warrant for his arrest.

In April 1986, he was arrested in Goa and received 10
years added jail term to the existing murder sentence.

In February 1997, he was released after serving 21
years in jail and returned to Paris.

In September 2003, Sobhraj was nabbed from Kathmandu`s
Royale Casino on charges of travelling on a fake passport.

In 2004, a Nepali court convicted and sentenced him to
life imprisonment in the 1975 murder case of US citizen Connie
Jo Bronzich.

In late 2007, Sobhraj`s lawyer appealed to French
president Nicolas Sarkozy, for intervention in the case,
citing his French nationality.

In 2008, Sobhraj hogged headlines after announcing his
engagement to Nihita Biswas, a 20-year-old Nepali girl, the
daughter of his lawyer Shakuntala Thapa.

Today, Nepal`s Supreme Court convicted him in the 1975
murder case and upheld the life term awarded to him by lower
courts.

The 66-year-old French national whose father was an
Indian and mother a Vietnamese, was also found guilty by the
apex court of possessing a fake passport.

-PTI



First Published: Friday, July 30, 2010 - 21:59

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