Kathmandu: Branded as a gold-digger by Nepal`s society and hounded by the media, Charles Sobhraj`s young fiancée Nihita Biswas will face an acid test from Aug 15, when the country`s Supreme Court puts her on trial, along with her mother, Shakuntala Thapa, for contempt of court.
The 22-year-old, who has already spent a night in a police lock-up and now faces a year`s jail or a fine or both for accusing two Supreme Court judges of having been bribed into sentencing Sobhraj to life imprisonment for murder, finished giving her statement in the apex court Friday.
Her mother, who is also Sobhraj`s lawyer, Tuesday appeared before judges Balaram KC and Ram Kumar Prasad Shrestha, apologising for her outburst last Friday when the court ruled that Sobhraj had visited Nepal in 1975 using a fake passport and had murdered an American tourist, Connie Jo Bronzich.
Though the trial will start only from Aug 15 and Thapa is a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court, the two judges Tuesday ordered her and her daughter to be sent to judicial custody.
However, it was revoked Wednesday when Nepal`s lawyers rallied round Thapa, calling the detention before trial unprecedented and offering to stand guarantee that they would not flee the country but present themselves in court when the trial started.
In spite of the bond furnished by members of Nepal`s bar associations Wednesday, Thapa and Nihita faced a hard time Thursday once more.
After Balaram KC had left the courtroom, Shah - who was also one of the two judges who convicted Sobhraj last week - said that the mother-daughter duo would have to furnish fresh guarantee by bar officials or be sent to custody.
Since the court closes early Friday, most bar officials had already left and it seemed Thapa and Nihita would face another night`s ordeal in the police lock-up.
Fortunately for them, the past president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Indra Kharel, was still in court and readily agreed to stand as their guarantor.