Kolkata: Charles Sobhraj, notorious as the ‘Bikini Killer’, is in critical condition in a hospital in Kathmandu, his lawyer and mother-in-law Shakuntala Thapa told News18.
The 73-year-old underwent Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) on June 12 and his condition has been deteriorating since. He is presently admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) amid tight security with multiple heath issues and both his kidneys have stopped functioning properly, she said.
Sobhraj, of Vietnamese and Indian origin, has been accused of killing between 15 to 20 Western tourists across southeast Asia during the 1970s. He also held a French passport which has now been confiscated.
Speaking to News18 over telephone from Kathmandu, Shakuntala Thapa, a lawyer, said, “I meet him in the hospital every day. My daughter Nihita also went to meet him. His condition is serious as he suffering from multiple ailments.”
“His heart, kidneys and lungs are not functioning properly. He is suffering from chronic kidney infection and should be given bail immediately on humanitarian grounds. It’s a matter of life and death,” she said.
“His legs have swollen up due to infection and he can’t even walk. He is finding it difficult to breathe as he has developed severe respiratory infection.”
“I hope the new Prime Minister of France, Édouard Philippe, will intervene in the matter for his bail. Several appeals for his bail were made at the international level, but nothing has been done. I think now the concerned governments should release him on humanitarian grounds. The Nepal government is obligated to follow the international rule to release him.”
Sobhraj, whose real name is Hatchand Bhaonani Gurumukh, has spent almost 21 years in Indian jails. In 1986, he escaped from Tihar Jail after offering the security guards drug-laced sweets. He was re-arrested and in 1997 was released from Tihar and returned to France.
In 2003, he was seen in Nepal and was immediately arrested from a Kathmandu hotel for the 1975 murders of Connie Jo Bronzich and Laurent Carrière.
He was awarded life imprisonment by a court in Kathmandu and since then has been lodged in Kathmandu Central Jail. During the trial, he got engaged to his lawyer Thapa’s daughter, Nihita Biswas.
On October 9, 2008, they reportedly married in jail, a claim disputed by the Nepal government. Nihita even appeared on Indian reality show Big Boss in 2011.
Sobhraj grew up on the streets of Saigon in Vietnam and spent his early years in juvenile prisons in France. He allegedly used to befriend woman, mostly foreigners, and drugged, looted and killed them. His first victim is believed to be an American tourist named Teresa Knowlton, who was found dead in a pool in Thailand in October 1975.