biratnagar:  Two individuals have been arrested by the police in Dharan, Sunsari, 16 years after their alleged involvement in the gang rape and murder incident.

According to DSP Navaraj Mallik of the District Police Office, Dharan, Chandrabahadur Rai, 56 years old from Dhankuta Municipality-1, Dhapka, and Kalpana Rai, 44 years old from the same location, have been taken into custody. Both individuals confessed their involvement in the incident, as stated by DSP Mallik. At the time of the incident, Chandrabahadur was 40 years old, and Kalpana was 28 years old.

On the date of the incident, the lifeless body of Lalita Rai, 25 years old, was found in a gruesome state in Room Number 218 of Balbhadraeshwar Arunodaya Dharmashala in Belghari, Dharan Municipality-5 (now Dharan-12). Her body was in a horrific condition when discovered. Her body was also found dumped in Dharan-10 Belghachhi, according to the police.

Initially, the police had difficulty identifying the deceased, and the accused had not been apprehended despite a lack of clear evidence and witness testimonies. The case had remained unsolved for approximately two months until the police reopened the file and initiated an investigation based on the allegations of gang rape and murder.

According to DSP Mallik, the arrest was made following the investigation conducted by the police, which led them to Dhankuta. Initially, Chandrabahadur was apprehended, and subsequently, Kalpana was also arrested. The police considered Chandrabahadur as the main suspect from the beginning.

As per the police, Lalita had developed a romantic relationship with Chandrabahadur, which soured after she arrived at Dharmashala on 19th Mangsir 2064 (December 4, 2007). Following their confrontation, Chandrabahadur called Kalpana Rai as well and allegedly coerced her to participate in the crime. The police revealed that both individuals were present in two separate rooms at the Dharmashala, with Chandrabahadur summoning Kalpana to his room before both took turns assaulting the victim. When the victim resisted, fearing exposure, they resorted to the extreme step of killing her, as per the initial investigation conducted by the police.

After the murder, the accused fled the scene, leaving the body in the room. According to DSP Mallik, Chandrabahadur managed to escape and went to India. However, he returned home a few years ago and had been hiding in Sikkim, India, for a long time. The police finally apprehended him after reopening the case and intensifying the investigation. DSP Mallik mentioned, “The file had been opened, and we have been searching for the absconding suspect diligently. We will conduct a detailed investigation.”

The police have extended the time limit for investigation regarding charges of rape, murder, and carrying out their duties in the case.