Will Dhondy’s Sobhraj prophecy come true?

December 27th, 2008 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Dec 27 (IANS) As he awaits a critical hearing on his sensational murder trial in Kathmandu’s apex court Sunday, Charles Sobhraj says he is unperturbed by the dark prophecy made in a new book based on his life and crimes by a former acquaintance.The 64-year-old, who is hoping Sunday’s argument by his lawyers will pave the way for his release from prison where he is serving a 20-year term, rejects the dark warning in author-screenplay writer Farrukh Dhondy’s novel, “The Bikini Murders”, indicating the crime maestro of the 70s is destined to rot in Kathmandu’s Central Jail.

“The Bikini Murders” borrows heavily on Sobhraj’s criminal career that spanned India, Thailand, France, Pakistan, Afghanistan and almost a dozen more countries.

Dhondy’s protagonist Johnson Thhat has a Vietnamese mother and an Indian father, just like Sobhraj. Like Sobhraj, he is arrested from a casino in Kathmandu for the murder of an American in the 1970s hippie era.

While Sobhraj is doggedly fighting the district court judgement that found him guilty of the murder of Connie Jo Bronzich and sent him to prison for life, Johnson Thhat has a foreboding that things are out of his control.

At the end of the novel, he tells the nemesis-like retired policeman who had been investigating the murder, that he had worked for the CIA. Thhat says he gave them details about the contacts and arms deals made by a former prison pal of his - a character that is based on Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

However, Thhat says his cover was blown by a former accomplice and lover, who spilled the beans to a Chinese crime gang.

“…The CIA and associated agencies get to know that my cover has been blown,” Thhat says in his last conversation with the former cop. “I am not only no good to them on the loose, I am dangerous. They tell your government to put me away forever…”

Is life going to imitate art when Sobhraj’s trial finally resumes after a long break?

The critical final hearing was postponed at least five times, raising speculation that the case remains, even three decades later, too hot for Nepal to handle due to Sobhraj’s international notoriety.

Sobhraj however dismisses the Dhondy oracle.

“It’s all rubbish,” he says. “If Dhondy had said his book was about a man born in Vietnam, nobody would have given it a second look. He knew that by saying the book is based on my life he would get instant attention.

“Besides being badly written, dull and pornographic, Dhondy’s book gives not an iota of true information.”

The book has already made its mark in Neapl, having been presented as “evidence” of Sobhraj’s crimes by the victim’s lawyers.

Sobhraj is amused by the move.

“Dhondy’s book actually supports my claim that there is no evidence to convict me,” he told IANS in a message conveyed through his lawyer.

Sobhraj was among the first people in Nepal to read the book and has underlined two passages with relish.

“No eyewitness accounts of anyone’s doings or whereabouts were produced,” the first passage says. “There was no circumstantial or forensic evidence to link Thhat to the murder. Thhat had not even been identified at the time as himself…

“Where was the evidence?…” asks the second passage. “All that was left was gossip and hearsay, which would not stand up for a minute in any court in the world.”

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