Sobhraj's 'wife', mother-in-law sent to jail in contempt case

22-year-old Nihita and Shankuntala Thapa, who was also Sobhraj's lawyer, were convicted for use of abusive language against the judges after the apex court in July upheld the life imprisonment for Sobhraj in the 1975 sensational murder case of American tourist Connie Jo Bronzich.

The top court not only slapped seven-day imprisonment and Rs 50 as fine on Nihita and her mother, but also banned Thapa from assuming any position as judge in future, myrepublica online, the website of Republica newspaper said today.

They had accused the judges of corruption following the final verdict in the case on July 30 which dashed Sobhraj's hope for freedom.

66-year-old Sobhraj, a French national whose father was an Indian and mother a Vietnamese, was sentenced by the lower courts to a 20-year life term for the murder of Bronzich and one year jail and Rs 2,000 fine in the fake passport case. He has already spent seven years in prison.

Nihita and Thapa had abused the judges, saying they took bribe and gave biased judgment against Sobhraj.

"How can you convict a person without any evidence?" Thapa asked. "We provided all the evidence necessary to prove that he is not guilty. They simply did not look at the facts," she claimed, adding her client was "denied" justice.
Many television channels had recorded the outbursts by Thapa and Nihita against the apex court on July 30.

On August 1, the apex court ordered Nihita and her mother to appear before it for publicly criticising its judges.

The court's verdict came in response to a petition filed by advocates Rajan Adhikari and Shanta Sedhain, who accused the duo of contempt of court.

Sobhraj's trial was splashed in the international media after Sobhraj announced his engagement and then marriage, while inside prison, to Nihita in 2008. Sobhraj fell in love with the Nepali beauty when she met him to apply for a job as a translator.

Nicknamed the "Bikini killer" and "Serpent", he has been accused of luring young women and killing many of them. Sobhraj, who was earlier held in New Delhi's Tihar prison, was deported to France in 1997.

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