Absconding serial blast mastermind wins Nepal poll

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : A man wanted for a string of blasts in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu last year has been elected from a Terai constituency in the country’s historic constituent assembly election.

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Babban Singh, who has been on the run since September when three explosions in crowded public places, including a bus, killed two students and a housewife, was Monday declared winner from a constituency in Rautahat district along the Indo-Nepal border.

Four of Singh’s associates – Jagat Narayan Sharma, Sanjeev Sah, Upendra Sah, and Ram Lakhan Sharma – are currently behind bars while 10 people, including Singh himself, are still at large.

According to the police, Singh and three others, Kaushal Shahani, Jagat Sah and Ram Priya alias Ram Bhagat Shahani, planned the attacks.

They had allegedly conducted reconnaissance trips to the chosen sites and sent people into the capital to plant the bombs.

Singh is believed to have crossed the open border and vanished in India after the police began searching for the culprits.

He won the election fighting as an independent candidate.

The police have charged him and his absconding accomplices with killing three people, including two students of a local school, and planting bombs in public places.

Two obscure ethnic groups from the plains, the Nepal People’s Army and Terai Army, had claimed the attacks were their handiwork but were not taken seriously.

The charge carries a punishment of life imprisonment and a fine.

It was not known immediately if the Election Commission would disqualify his victory.

The Election Commission has so far ordered re-polling in 98 booths.