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World gets first glimpse of Sobhraj’s sweetheart

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : Nihita Biswas, whose name has been on everyone’s lips in Nepal, India and elsewhere, finally made her first public appearance in Kathmandu Saturday, dispelling all doubts about her engagement to former crime genius Charles Sobhraj and defending him against the murder sentence he is serving in a high-security prison in the capital.

Nihita Biswas, the 20-year-old young Nepali woman who has been the quarry of television stations, journalists and the paparazzi since IANS broke the news of her engagement to Sobhraj, 64, Thursday, finally decided to take the bull by the horns and appeared in public to defend herself and her fiancé against the defamatory and salacious reports appearing about them in the media.

The confident young woman, looking stunning in a black dress, said Sobhraj, sentenced to jail for 20 years for the murder of an American tourist nearly 40 years ago, was the victim of “rumours”.

Appearing on Kantipur Television station’s 8 o’clock news programme, one of the most watched in Nepal, she alleged the police here arrested him illegally in 2003 and kept him in illegal detention for two days, when they made him write 11 pages so that they could get samples of his handwriting and signature.

Police used the samples to fake a document and claimed it was signed by Sobhraj in 1975 when he visited Nepal and signed a hotel guest register, Nihita said.

She also said that though the law requires it, prosecution has never been able to produce the original document.

When asked by Nepal’s Supreme Court, where Sobhraj’s appeal against the guilty verdict is being heard, why they had arrested Sobhraj, police were claiming they acted on orders from immigration authorities while the latter was citing police, Nihita said.

Nihita, who met Sobhraj in Kathmandu’s central jail where she had gone to meet him after someone said he was looking for an interpreter, said she had been attracted to him first because of his humility. She said he was humble and listened to her patiently though she was a nobody and he did not need an interpreter.

When she broke the news to her mother, Nihita said her mother was stunned at first. However, she was won over by Sobhraj when she went to the prison to meet him and told Nihita, “You have made the right choice.”

Nihita also told Nepal’s biggest TV station that she and Sobhraj were the target of scandals in the media. They would be married in France in accordance with French laws, she said.