Kathmandu, May 31 (AP): Motorcycle-riding assailants shot and killed a Supreme Court judge under investigation for allegedly taking bribes as he headed to work in Kathmandu today, police said.
Rana Bahadur Bam’s bodyguard and another passenger in his car were also wounded in the attack as the judge was driven to work after praying at a Hindu temple.
Bam was being investigated by the Judiciary Council for allegedly taking bribes from suspects charged with abduction in 2010 in exchange for releasing them with light sentences and fines.
Police official Rabindra Shah said two masked men on a black motorcycle drove by the judge’s car and opened fire. Bam, his bodyguard and another person identified as the judge’s friend were hit but the driver managed to escape. The attackers fled the scene after the shooting and the injured were rushed to the hospital in a taxi.
Bam, shot several times, died at the local Norvic Hospital as he was being treated for internal bleeding, said hospital doctor Bharat Rawat. The other two men were undergoing surgery and their condition was unknown.
| The body of Supreme Court judge Rana Bahadur Bam is taken for a post-mortem examination after he was shot dead in Kathmandu on Thursday. (AP)
Police set up checkpoints in Kathmandu and were searching for the motorcycle and culprits.
Police said they were yet to question the bodyguard, who was an eyewitness to the killing. The shooting incident came as the Nepali capital was under heightened security following a political crisis in the country, with the Opposition and caretaker Maoist government at loggerheads.
Nepal is currently under a power vacuum, being run by a caretaker government without any legislature.
Justice Bam was being investigated for allegedly being involved in a bribery case involving the release of three criminals serving long jail sentences. He was barred from hearing cases.
But in a reprieve for the judge, the country’s Constituent Assembly, which was hearing his impeachment case, was disbanded as the parties failed to meet the deadline to frame the new Constitution.
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Chief Justice Khila Raj Regmi visited the judge before he died in the hospital. Bhattarai has asked home minister Bijaya Gachhadar to investigate the incident.