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Freed From Nepal Jail, Charles Sobhraj on Plans to Visit India and Time in Tihar

In an interview with The Indian Express Charles Sobhraj talks about his plans after release from Nepal.

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India
3 min read
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Charles Sobhraj — a convicted serial killer accused of at least 20 murders in various countries across south and southeast Asia — was released from a prison in Nepal on Friday, 23 December after the Supreme Court of the country ordered his release and deportation to his home country, France.

Sobhraj, released on health grounds, was serving a 20-year jail term for the murder of two north American tourists.

In 2016, Sobhraj was interviewed by The Indian Express via email and he insisted that the said interview should be published only after his release from Kathmandu Jail.

On Friday, as the infamous serial killer — also known as 'The Serpent' and the 'Bikini Killer' — walked out of prison, Express published the interview. Here are some excerpts:

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On His Arrest in Nepal

In 2003, Sobhraj, despite being a free man since 1997, wilfully decided to visit Nepal , a country where he was arrested and imprisoned. Speaking to Express, Sobhraj said that he didn't apprehend any problems considering he did not commit any offence in Nepal.

"When I was released from India, the Indian government had asked Nepal whether I was wanted. On receiving a negative reply from Nepal, the Government of India then informed the CMM (Chief Metropolitan Magistrate) in Delhi that I was no longer wanted by any country and could be released," he told Express.

Sobhraj said that he went to Nepal for a meeting with a Chinese party from Hong Kong "in relation to some matter linked to Pakistan."

He added that his plan was to stay in Kathmandu only for a few days but the news of his presence in the country hit the front pages and he was subsequently arrested.

On Time Spent in Tihar Jail and Plans to Visit India

In the interview, Sobhraj spoke elaborately about his time in Delhi's Tihar Jail and compared it to his time in the Kathmandu Jail. "The conditions in Nepali jails are primitive, awful. For the poor Nepali inmates, it’s a question of survival… life or death. Many sleep on the ground under the sky. Also, as the inmates are kept on a starving diet, the yearly incidence of death is quite high," Sobhraj said.

He added that he will "definitely" visit India. "I want to meet my three (friends who I consider) sisters in Pune," he said.

On Meeting Pakistani Terrorist Masood Azhar in Tihar

Sobhraj, in the interview to Express, said that at the time of the 1999 Kandahar plane hijack, he was in touch with members of Harkat ul Ansar, the party of Pakistani terrorist Masood Azhar that had executed the hijack.

For context, on 24 December 1999, Indian Airlines flight IC-814 took off from Kathmandu in Nepal with Delhi as its intended destination. The flight left with 180 persons on board, including crew and the passengers. Instead, it was hijacked and flown to several locations before landing in Kandahar, Afghanistan. One passenger, 25-year-old Rupin Katyal, was stabbed to death.

"Jaswant Singh (a minister in the then-National Democratic Alliance government) was in direct contact with me. At first, he sent an envoy to meet me in Paris. Following that meeting, and my direct talk with Singh, I contacted people in the Harkat ul Ansar, Masood’s party then. They, of course, refused to release the passengers but I succeeded in getting an undertaking from them that for 11 days, they would not harm the passengers, but after that, they would start executing."
Charles Sobhraj claimed to The Indian Express

He claimed that he called Singh and informed him that the Indian government had 11 days to negotiate with the terrorists.

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Plans After Release From Kathmandu Jail

In the interview to Express, Sobhraj said he will on priority return to France and meet his family and that there is a possibility of a future Hindi film based on his life after Randeep Hooda starrer Main Aur Charles.

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