Author Farrukh Dhondy slams Charles Sobhraj

November 17th, 2008 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) Author Farrukh Dhondy, whose new book “The Bikini Murders”, a take on the life of yesteryear’s crime maestro Charles Sobhraj courted controversy just after its release last week, Monday described Sobhraj’s threat to sue him as an attempt at “extortion and blackmail”. “Sobhraj’s threat is an attempt at blackmail and extortion,” the author told a television channel.

Barely 48 hours after the book was released on Friday, Sobhraj threatened to sue Dhondy saying it was an unauthorised “biography”.

The “serial killer”, cooling his heels in a Nepal jail, said Dhondy had no business to base the lead character of his book on him. However, the 64-year-old is expecting a favourable verdict by the Nepal court later this year.

“The Bikini Murders” is a story of a serial killer Johnson Thhat, who is arrested in a Kathmandu casino by inspector Ganesh Pradhan after eluding justice for 25 years. He was wanted for the murder of an American girl. The character is somewhat reminiscent of Sobhraj with his dark glasses and suave manners.

While releasing the book, published by Harper Collins-India, Dhondy recalled anecdotes about his association with Sobhraj. He said Sobhraj was a friend of Masood Azhar, the founder of the Islamic terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

“Sobhraj apparently rescued Masood from goons in jail, who had beaten him to a pulp, during their stint in Tihar jail. After that, Masood became very dependent on Sobhraj.

“In 2000, when the Indian Airlines aircraft with 400 passengers on board was hijacked to Kandhahar by militants who demanded Masood’s release in lieu of the hostages’ lives, Sobhraj offered to help India,” Dhondy recalled. However, the author also defended Sobhraj saying his imprisonment in Nepal for the 1975 murder of an American tourist was unfair.

“My French and British lawyers are reading the book,” Sobhraj told IANS in Kathmandu’s Central Jail, where he is serving a life sentence.

“We would like to sue the publishers, Harper Collins, in London though the book was published by Harper Collins India, since then the damages are going to be substantially higher,” he had threatened. He alleged that Dhondy was a “petty middleman, who introduced him to filmmakers”.

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