Why Cop Who Arrested “Bikini Killer” Charles Sobhraj Is Happy About His Release

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Cop Who Caught 'Bikini Killer' Charles Sobhraj Is Happy With His Release. Here's His Reason

Charles Sobhraj is due to be freed on Thursday. (File)

Kathmandu:

A former Nepalese police officer who was instrumental in the high-profile arrest of the notorious French serial killer Charles Sobhraj in 2003 on Thursday said it was the painful childhood memory of the sight of a half-burnt body of a slain American woman in a river here that spurred him to become a detective.

Ganesh KC was 40 and the Deputy Police Superintendent in 2003 when he nabbed Sobhraj from a casino in Kathmandu.

Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of Sobhraj, 78, a Frenchman of Indian and Vietnamese parentage, who has been in jail here for close to two decades on murder charges.

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Ganesh KC is the officer who arrested Charles Sobhraj almost two decades ago.

For Ganesh, it was the painful childhood memory of the sight of a half-burnt body of American tourist Connie Jo Bronzich that encouraged him to become a seasoned and hardened detective.

“I was barely 12 when I saw people rushing near the Manahara river in Kathmandu to get a glimpse of the dead body of Connie Jo Bronzich, the American backpacker who was killed by Sobhraj,” he told PTI.

Bronzich and Canadian friend Laurent Carriere were the two backpackers killed by Sobhraj in 1976.

It was only ironic that 27 years later, Ganesh would be entrusted with the task of hunting down the serial killer.

Ganesh recounted with glee the chain of events that lead to Sobhraj’s sensational arrest.

“He (Sobhraj) landed in Kathmandu on the pretext of filming a documentary. He was spotted near Royale Casino in Durbarmarg and The Himalayan Times newspaper published his photograph. The photograph got Kathmandu Metropolitan Police to launch a manhunt,” he recollected.

Although there was no concrete evidence to nail Sobhraj in the twin murder case, the police first arrested him on charges of violating the immigration law, then charged him with the murders on the basis of circumstantial evidence, including his signature in the hotel registry, Ganesh said.

“We are proud to have arrested Sobhraj nearly three decades after the murder of the backpackers,” Ganesh said.

“His arrest in Nepal shows the country’s robust criminal judicial system,” he added.

There were two cases registered against him — one in Kathmandu District Court and another in Bhaktapur District Court — for the murder of the two backpackers in two different areas in two days.

Sobhraj has denied killing the backpackers.

His lawyers said the charge against him was based on assumption.

“After we detained him from the casino premises in August 2003, we charged him for violating the immigration law,” Ganesh said.

“After arresting him under immigration violation law, we searched for further evidence and then charged him in the twin murder case,” he explained.

According to Ganesh, Sobhraj killed the two backpackers because they were carrying jewellery.

Years later, Ganesh received an appreciation letter the from parents of the two backpackers following Sobhraj’s arrest.

Nearly two decades later, Ganesh, now retired from service, says he is happy to see the early release of Sobhraj.

“I am happy to learn about his early release for being a senior citizen. It shows how sensitive we are towards senior citizens and it displays our conviction to human rights,” he noted.

Incidentally, Sobhraj could not be booked for murder in any country prior to his 2003 conviction in Nepal.

He is believed to have killed 15 to 20 people in the 1970s.

Two of his victims were found wearing only bikinis.

He befriended mostly Western tourists in Asia, later drugging and killing them mostly between 1972 and 1976.

Over the years, Sobhraj earned the nickname “Bikini Killer” and “The Serpent” due to his skill at deception and evasion.

Sobhraj through his petition had claimed that he had completed his jail term as per the ‘concessions’ entitled to senior citizens of Nepal.

He claimed that he had already served 17 of the 20 years of his sentence and had already been recommended for release for behaving well.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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