Since a few days in Nepal, a hashtag #justiceforchhorimaiyamaharjan has been trending all across social media. Whether it be the comment section on YouTube or Facebook or Instagram of the very popular Nepali pages, you will find this hashtag. So what this hashtag is actually about. Today we are going to read about this.
In 2012, the disappearance of a 52 year old woman, Chhori Maiya Maharjan, took the attention of the media, and a lot of other people. From 2012 to 2021, the case has still been going on, but Maharjan has not been found anywhere till date. This issue has become a nationwide issue right now, and a lot of people want justice for her and her three daughters, who are still living without any trace of their mother.
How did the Chhori Maiya Maharjan case start?
According to her three daughters: Sudha Maharjan, Sushila Maharjan and Subhadra Maharjan, their mother Chhori Maiya Maharjan, used to run her own tailor business for the past 30 years. One morning, she told her daughters that she is going to meet her friend Nikki Singh or Suraksha Singh.
Subhadra called her after around 12 pm, and the call was received but there was no answer and nobody spoke. She didn’t worry much because Chhori Maiya’s phone fell down a few days ago, and the display has been damaged. So, she cited this as the problem.
In the evening, they received an SMS from Chhori Maiya’s phone number, which reads that she is in Manakamana with her friends, and will return back the day after tomorrow. This shocked the three sisters as their mother does not know how to use other features of the phone except calling, and she didn’t know how to type a message very clearly like that.
This one SMS created doubt in the mind of the three sisters and they were very sure that a third person was involved and their mother had been kidnapped.
Who was accused in the Chhori Maiya Maharjan Case?
The three sisters decided to call Nikki Singh, and asked her about the whereabouts of Chhori Maiya. At first, Singh said not to worry and she will be back very soon, but the problem arose when she kept changing her words in the police station. Whatever she had told to the three sisters, completely contradicted what she said in the Hanumandhoka Police Station.
Singh also accepted to have taken money from Maharjan to the sisters, but denied that in the police station. When the three sisters went to visit Singh in her house to ask for information that she knows anything and also promised that they wouldn’t tell the police about this. But Singh denied and said that she won’t say anything as they might record her and then give it to the police. Her words confirmed the doubts of three sisters that she is one to kidnap their mother Chhori Maiya Maharjan.
What happened after this?
The police had already kept Nikki Singh under observation, and banned her from travelling abroad. She was also kept in the prison for 24 hours, and here entered Deepak Malhotra, Chairman of IMS Group and the distributor of Samsung Mobile Nepal, who is also Singh’s brother.
At first, Malhotra told the Maharjan sisters that his reach is very high, and he even knows the then Home Minister, Bijay Kumar Gachadar, and he can use forces to find Chhori Maiya, and they also believed in him. But as time passed by, he started giving wrong information to the media, further complicating the case.
Malhotra also told them that their mother had already run away and to stop the case right there. He also gave them all the money that Singh had taken with Maharjan, but the sisters just wanted their mother to return back. After this, Malhotra started to threaten the three sisters saying that if they ever doubted Nikki, then he will use his powers to free her anyhow.
What happened during the investigation?
While Nikki Singh denied taking any amount of money at first, the forensic department found out that she had borrowed NPR 50 Lakhs ($42,053) from Chhori Maiya, and later she confessed that she had only taken NPR 5 Lakhs ($4,205).
According to an article in Asian Human Rights Commission, “A month after this case began getting media attention, the entire marketing team of Kantipur publications received a free Samsung phone. 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.”
Another part of the same article writes, “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 as belonging to Nikki’s brother’s associate.”
Also, it is said that Nikki’s husband, Binod Singh, met with Ganapati Lal Shrestha, a member of the Chhori Maiya Maharjan Search Committee and offered him money to drop his involvement in the case, and when Shrestha refused the order, he reportedly declared that it would have been just easier to kill Chhori Maiya Maharjan instead.
Sub-inspector Amar Thapa, who was handling this case, also resigned after the case was filed before the court, and was seen handing some documents to Nikki Singh’s legal team, and after this he was not brought in for any further questioning.
On the day of the court hearing, it was informed that the judge Rakesh Kumar Kafle had gone for a training program and the hearing had been postponed. Like this, the court kept on bailing the Maharjan family and did not even give the necessary documents regarding this case.
Also, the statement of Nikki Singh completely changed in the court, and it was not the same as what she said in the police station at first, and she was granted a bail with NPR 1 Lakhs ($841). The police have failed to explain why Singh’s statements kept changing.
When this case was first filed, the police didn’t trace Chhori Maiya Maharjan’s last known location for three months, which was supposed to happen at the beginning as there was already technology available for this. The location was traced after three months, and it was found that the last known location was in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, where Nikki Singh also resides.
The aftermath and the current situation:
The case was already closed, but now after nearly eight years, when this case is getting more highlights, people want this case to be reopened and the public is raging in social media, and flooding the comments all over.
Some very popular Nepalese celebrities are being targeted in this case, the main one being Priyanka Karki.
So how is Priyanka Karki related to this case?
Nikki Singh, the prime suspect of this case, is Priyanka Karki’s aunt, which means she is the sister of Priyanka’s mother. In a lot of interviews, Karki has said that she is very close to her aunt, and so people are asking her about this case and to tell what she knows about the involvement of her aunt.
Former Miss Nepal, Zenisha Moktan, who is married to Deepak Malhotra’s son, Dikesh Malhotra, has also been under the radar of the public. The public has also asked her about her father-in-law’s involvement in the case.
Since the pressure is building up, she made a series of long lengthy Instagram posts. In the post, she has clearly stated that Nikki Singh has been proven innocent, and there is no hand of Deepak Malhotra in the case. This post has not been met with a positive response from the public, as they pointed out a lot of faults here.
Moktan has also been accused of playing a victim card saying that Nikki’s 12-year-old son “was summoned to police questioning and has been taking the station rounds since that tender age”.
Former Miss Nepal Shrinkhala Khatiwada has also been slammed by people for sharing a post related to this case by @aawaajnews, which states that the people are barking up the wrong tree. In the post, the page has compared the Chhori Maiya case with other cases like Joseph Kony case and Sushant Singh Rajput case.
What did Priyanka Karki have to say about this case?
After a lot of pressure was put into Priyanka Karki, and she has been getting a lot of hate these days, also that she is pregnant with her husband, Ayushman Desraj Shrestha Joshi, she made a YouTube video about this case.
In the video, Karki says that the case has not been closed and it has reached three different courts in the span of 8 years. She shared an interview of Chhori Maiya’s daughter Sudha Maharjan, and her aunt Nikki Singh. In the interview, Sudha says that Chhori Maiya left the house at around 8-8:15 am, and after some time, she received a call from her, and she told Sudha that she will go to Nikki’s house, and to ask Nikki if she is free or not.
Like this, Sudha called Nikki and asked her if she is free and available, to which Nikki said she is outside and then when she went home, Chhori Maiya was not there, to which they did not take it seriously. Karki states that there was no direct contact between Nikki and Chhori Maiya.
Here, another individual Shyam Kaji Shrestha is introduced, who actually gave a ride to Chhori Maiya on his bike and dropped her at Teku, Kathmandu. So, it has not been written anywhere if Chhori Maiya actually reached Nikki’s house at New Baneshwor or not.
In a news report about this case, it was said that a diary of Chhori Maiya has been found and there she has wrote the amount of money she has lended to anyone, where it was written that Nikki has lended NRS 20 Lakhs ($16,821) from her, but Nikki claims it was only NRS 5 Lakhs ($4,205), while the forensic reports says it was NRS 50 Lakhs ($42,053). So, the actual amount of money is still in dispute.
Priyanka later claims that Nikki has rightfully fought the case without any foul games, and has proved her innocence everytime in every court hearing. She sends her regards to the Maharjan family and says that they deserve an answer, and we all should together find Chhori Maiya Maharjan, instead of playing the blame game.
However, Karki has disabled the comment section and also hid the like and dislike numbers in her YouTube video, so this further raises the questions about the authenticity of her words.
It has been 8 years, and we can’t even imagine what the Maharjan sisters and the family are going through. To not know any whereabouts about their mother, is something that we can’t even imagine. As the voice of the public is getting louder day by day, we hope that the case is resolved as soon as possible and the actual culprit is soon revealed. Till then #justiceforchhorimaiyamaharjan.