NEPAL: Two years after her kidnapping and disappearance, what can we do to find out what happened to our mother Chhori Maiya Maharjan?

An Open Letter from the daughters of Chhori Maiya who want to know whereabouts of their mother. They want justice to be served now!

It has been two years since Chhori Maiya Maharjan disappeared. She was on her way to Baneshwor, Kathmandu, to meet Surakchya Singh alias Nikki. Nikki was supposed to return NPRs 5 million to Chhori Maiya. With many delays the case reached the Kathmandu District Court a year ago. Recently the court again postponed the final hearing for the reason that the judge is absent. It has been a long wait for the Chhori Maiya Maharjan’s family who has been waiting for justice for two years now. They have put their lives, education and career in jeopardy seeking justice.

The AHRC has released the following Urgent Appeals on this incident.

NEPAL: One year on, no progress in the investigations into Chhori Maiya Maharjan’s disappearance and

NEPAL: State remains unresponsive to the missing person Chhori Maiya Maharjan, and her family wants to know where she is

February 28, 2014 marks two years since the disappearance of our mother Chhori Maiya Maharjan.

In the last two years, we have done our best to bring both public and legal attention to this case. While we have succeeded to some degree in making the public aware, to-date we continue to face challenges with the legal proceedings of the case.

The biggest challenge that has emerged has been the stonewalling of the case by the Nepal police. These are some the difficulties we continue to face from them:

  • There has been a constant and unexplained change of investigation officers.
  • The police have not disclosed or asked for call details and message location details of Chhori Maiya Maharjan in first three month since she disappeared when it was possible for the Nepal Telecom to trace them
  • Superintendent of Police, Amar Thapa, who was one of the team members in the initial investigation team, has not been brought in for questioning. He resigned after the case was filed.
  • The police have failed to explain why Surakchya (Nikki) Singh’s first original statement was replaced by a new one at the court. It was this changed second statement that enabled her to be granted bail.

Bail was granted despite Deputy Superintendent of Police Rabindra Dhanuk making it clear that Surakchya (Nikki) Singh is the only legitimate and prime suspect in the case. A case charging Nikki Singh with kidnapping has been filed at the Kathmandu District Court. She is currently out on a bail of NPRs. 100,000.

At the judicial level, the court has not asked for clarification on many of the points stated above. While the police insist they can only release certain investigation documents to the court if requested by it, the court itself has not taken any initiative to request them.

At the same time a pattern of obstruction of justice has emerged during the last 24 months. This obstruction of justice has been, as we see, repeatedly conducted by the prime suspect Nikki Singh’s brother, Deepak Malhotra.

This is how the case has been unfolding:

Nikki Singh’s apparent motive: the 50 laks rupees she had borrowed from Chhori Maiya Maharjan  (Nikki is known to have run an illegal Dhukuti ring where people pool in money and collect the pot turn by turn at predetermined intervals).

Nikki Singh first denied taking any loan. Then she admitted taking only NPRs. 500,000, which she paid the family in cash.

Forensic tests have proved that this loan has been documented in Chori Maiya Maharjan’s journal, and it was indeed noted as NPRs. 50,00,000 (5 million), not NPRs. 500,000 (5 lakhs).

Nikki’s brother Deepak Malhotra directly offered Chhori Maiya Maharjan’s family the full NPRs. 50,00,000 (5 million) if they would not file the case against his sister.

Deepak Malhotra is the sole Samsung distributor for Nepal. He has a well-known public history of illicit business dealings dating back to the 1980s and early 1990s. Deepak Malhotra is also known to have very good relationships with the country’s top politicians, including the former Home Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar.

On 13 March, 2012, Chhori Maiya Maharjan’s family met with the Home Minister, who then instructed the then Inspector General of Police Rabindra Pratap Shah to investigate the case.

It was immediately after this meeting that Deepak Malhotra became actively involved in the legal investigation of this case.

Tirtha Ram Dangol, then a Member of Parliament and a member of the Chhori Maiya Search Committee, received threats from an anonymous phone number. That phone number was traced and identified by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) as belonging to an associate of Deepak Malhotra.

Binod Singh, Nikki’s husband, personally met with Ganapati Lal Shrestha, a member of the Chhori Maiya Maharjan Search Committee. Mr. Singh offered money to Mr. Shrestha to drop his involvement. When Mr. Shrestha refused the offer, an irritated Binod Singh declared that it would have been just easier to kill Chhori Maiya Maharjan instead.

A month after this case began getting media attention, the entire marketing team of Kantipur publications received free Samsung phones. It is now public knowledge that any time there is a report implicating Deepak Malhotra or the Home Minister Gachhadar to this case there is an internal objection raised within the media house.

Samsung Nepal is one of the larger advertising clients for all of Nepal’s major media houses.

What is Deepak Malhotra’s link to blocking the investigation of Chori Maiya Maharjan’s disappearance in which his sister is the prime suspect?

Is Deepak Malhotra obstructing justice?

Two years after the disappearance of Chhori Maiya Maharjan the state remains unresponsive. Why is this?

The Kathmandu District Court has been postponing the final hearing time and again. The last hearing scheduled on 26 February 2014 has also been postponed as the judge Rajesh Kumar Kaphle was absent on that day. He was absent on the previous hearing also as he had to participate in training. The legal case continues to drag on in the court. Why is that?

The prime suspect, Surakchya (Nikki) Singh, lives a free life while our lives continue to be absolutely disrupted and distraught.

Two years after our mother disappeared, it increasingly feels like justice has not just been delayed, it has been obstructed and denied.

We now ask you:

What can we do next to find out what happen to our mother? We have used the law and the judiciary to investigate the case. We have used the media and the Occupy Baluwatar to bring the facts out to the public and continue our quest to find justice and our mother. Still, despite the public knowledge and the outcry, and despite the known evidence, the case is at a standstill and the suspect a free woman. Why is this?

We hope that you will do all within your power to help with this case not just for our sake, but to help and enable citizens demand greater accountability from our Government and law enforcement agencies and for the sake of helping fix what is clearly a broken legal system in our country which leaves thousands of victims like us, searching for justice: a quest that can all too often feel hopeless and futile.

And so we ask you:

What can we do to find out what happen to our mother?

And will you please help us to find our mother?



_____________              _______________               ________________

Sudha Maharjan              Sushila Maharjan                   Subhadra Maharjan


Daughters of Chhori Maiya Maharjan

Document Type : Open Letter
Document ID : AHRC-OLT-002-2014
Countries : Nepal,
Issues : Enforced disappearances and abductions, Judicial system, Rule of law,