Verdict on 'Bikini Killer' Sobhraj put off for two weeks

Last Updated 14 July 2010, 13:05 IST

A division bench of Justices Ram Kumar Prasad Shah and Gauri Dhakal said the verdict would be pronounced on July 30 against the notorious criminal linked to series of backpacker killings of tourists across Asia.

"We need two more weeks to decide," Justice Ram Kumar Shah said. 66-year-old Sobhraj was not present in the court on Wednesday. He had sent a letter to the Supreme Court yesterday saying that he could not attend the court proceedings on health grounds.

This was the third time that the apex court has put off its final verdict on the appeal file by Sobhraj after being convicted and sentence to life imprisonment in the high-profile case by the lower courts.

His trial has attracted international media attention, particularly after he announced his engagement and marriage to Nepalese teenager Nihita Biswas in 2008, while inside prison.

Biswas voiced frustration at the delay in the appeal verdict. "I'm definitely disappointed, but I think these kind of things take a very long time, so we have to be patient," she told reporters outside the court.

The alleged international serial killer has been behind bars for almost seven years on a murder charge in Kathmandu. Sobhraj is currently serving a 20-year life sentence for the murder of American backpacker Connie Joe Bronzich in 1975. The US national had been stabbed repeatedly, burnt beyond recognition and her body dumped on the outskirts of the Nepalese capital.

Sobhraj, who is now a French national, was arrested in Kathmandu during his second visit here in 2003, and was convicted by the Kathmandu District Court in 2004, a judgement later upheld by the Patan Appellate Court in 2005. He moved the apex court in 2006 challenging the lower courts' verdicts.

Sobhraj was picked up from Kathmandu's Royale Casino in 2003 on charges of travelling on fake passport and later convicted for murder of the backpacker. Sobharj claims that he has not visited Nepal before 2003 and denies having committed any crime here.

Born to a Vietnamese mother and Indian father, he had previously been convicted in India and had served 21-years in prison for culpable homicide. After his release he returned to live in France.

Sobhraj has another case pending against him of the murder of a Canadian tourist Laurent Armound Carriere in the Bhaktapur district court.

(Published 14 July 2010, 07:07 IST)

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