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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