Kathmandu: Nepal spinner Sandeep Lamichhane was arrested immediately upon his arrival in the country capital on Thursday at the Tribhuvan International Airport almost a month after a court issued a warrant over the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl.
In a video shared by Kantipur TV — a Nepal based television channel — on Twitter, Lamichhane can be seen being escorted in police custody.
Before being arrested, the Nepal international in a Facebook post on Wednesday said that he was returning to the country and would “fully cooperate in all stages of the investigation and will fight a legal battle to prove my innocence”.
“I know I am facing a difficult time of conspiracy and wrongful allegation and the ramification of its effect is something unimaginable. I am sure there must be some mechanism of compensating to the accused who proven to be innocent in our legal system,” Lamichhane wrote.
“I will soon seek legal support against wrongful prosecution and allegation made against me and I am sure I will get the justice and will return to the cricket ground soon to make the name and fame of my beloved country and I pray for speedy trial. I will fully cooperate in all stages of investigation and will fight legal battle to prove my innocence. Let the justice prevail,” he added.
The warrant was issued by a Nepalese court on September 8 when Lamichhane was in the West Indies, taking part in the Caribbean Premier League. Back then, he had said he would leave the CPL and return to home to face the “baseless allegations”.
On 25 September, he issued a further statement having not returned, and after this Nepalese police said they had sought help from Interpol with a “diffusion” notice asking member countries for their co-operation in bringing Lamichhane back to the country to face charges.
“News of the arrest warrant issued against me made me mentally disturbed. I could not think what to do and what not to do. My health condition is gradually improving and I am planning to return to Nepal as soon as possible to vehemently fight back (against the allegations),” Lamichhane said.
The 22-year-old is by far Nepal’s most high-profile cricketer, having played in T20 leagues in most parts of the world, including in the IPL, the BBL, the PSL, the BPL, and the CPL.
He is also the world’s second-fastest bowler to 50 ODI wickets and third-fastest to 50 T20I wickets. The spinner last played international cricket in August 2022, in the T20I series against Kenya. After that, he was set to represent Jamaica Tallawahs in the CPL but was unable to get involved in the action.
Lamichhane was suspended as Nepal captain last month following the rape accusations. At the time, Cricket Association of Nepal’s acting secretary Prashant Vikram Malla had said that his suspension would remain in place pending a complete investigation.