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Supreme Court justice shot dead in capital
Daylight attack by assailants on motorbike comes amid widening political tensionPolice at the scene of the shooting today in Kathmandu
- Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu
- June 1, 2012
Judge Rana Bahadur Bam was shot six times when unidentified gunmen on a motorbike stopped his car andÂ opened fire, Superintendent of Metropolitan Police Rabi Raj Shrestha said in a press statement.
â€śHe and a security guard were returning from Bagalamukhi temple. A motorbike blocked their way.â€ť
Bam died after being admitted to Norvic International Hospital. His bodyguard and a companion were also injured in the attack. The driver was unharmed and is in police custody for questioning.
â€śThe driver is the main witness so we are giving him protection by keeping him under our care,â€ť Shrestha told ucanews.com today.
â€śWe found seven casingsÂ at the scene andÂ possibly the motorbike used â€“ a motorbike with a fake number was found abandoned not veryÂ farÂ away. A specialÂ high-level committee of police has been formed andÂ security vigilance has been steppedÂ up."
The shooting comes amid ongoing political tensions and follows the dismissal of a deadlocked Constituent Assembly that after four years has failed to deliver a draft constitution.
Caretaker Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai assured reporters outside the hospital that justice would be served and appealed to the public to remain calm.
â€śThe Nepal government will find the criminal. I urge all Nepalis not to be filled with terror.â€ť
Bhattarai attended the cremation of Bam with state honors today, along with President Ram Baran Yadav.
Bam, appointed four years ago, was the subject of a Judicial Council investigation into allegations that he accepted bribes in return for lenient sentencing in three abduction cases, according to a report by the Himalayan Times.
Impeachment proceedings began in 2009, but Bam has maintained his innocence in the case, claiming that his accusers were engaged in a personal vendetta, according to local media reports.
Investigators found leaflets at the scene of the shooting signed by a previously unknown group called the â€śNepalBadâ€ť (or, Pro-Nepal)Â Party, said police spokesman Rabi Raj Shrestha.
Bearing the signature of Amar Nepal, the leaflets warned that the group would â€śfinish off corrupt judges, government employees, political leaders, NGOs/INGOs, and others.â€ť
A construction worker at a building site near the scene of the shooting said he and fellow workers witnessed the attack.
â€śIt happened so fast while we were busy with work...even the driver who survived was so shaken up he told the police that it was a black motorbike, whereas it was clearly red. We told the police everything,â€ť said the worker, who asked not to be named out of fear for his safety.
Assembly fails to draft constitution
Calls for unity as protests turn violent