Indian Vietnamese serial killer Charles Sobhraj set free from Nepal jail on December 23, 2022, went back to his home country, France.
The serial killer Charles Sobhraj is responsible for multiple murders in the 1970s across Asia, who coldbloodedly murdered more than 20 western backpackers on the “hippie trail” through Asia in the 1970s and 1980s.
It is thought that Sobhraj killed at least 20 tourists in South and Southeast Asia, including 14 in Thailand. He was convicted and jailed in India from 1976 to 1997. After his release, he returned to France. Sobhraj went to Nepal in 2003, where he was arrested, tried, and given a life sentence. On 21 December 2022, the Supreme Court of Nepal ordered his release from prison because of his old age, after he had served 19 years of his prison term. On 23 December, he was released and deported to France.
Pictures are shared now of Charles Sobhraj sitting in an aircraft departing from Kathmandu to France, on December 23, 2022, who was freed on December 23 after spending almost 20 years in a Nepali prison.
The Life and Crime Trail of Charles Sobhraj
Nicknamed “the Bikini Killer” and “the Serpent”, Sobhraj is a Frenchman of Indian and Vietnamese parentage. He was serving a life term in a Kathmandu jail since 2003 and spent 21 years in Indian jails according to sources. The sophisticated and charismatic killer gained even more fame with his skills of manipulation and deceit and did the unimaginable by breaking out of India’s most guarded jail — Tihar Prison, leading to one of the greatest manhunts. A month later, Mumbai cop Madhukar Zende arrested him after saying the famous line: ‘Hello Charles. How are you?’
Sobhraj’s prison sentence in India was due to end before the 20-year Thai statute of limitations expired, ensuring his extradition and almost certain execution for murder in Thailand. So in March 1986, in his tenth year in prison, Sobhraj threw a big party for his guards and fellow inmates, drugged them with sleeping pills, and walked out of the prison.
Inspector Madhukar Zende of the Mumbai police arrested Sobhraj in O’Coqueiro Restaurant in Goa; his prison sentence was extended by ten years, just as he had hoped. On 17 February 1997, 52-year-old Sobhraj was released with most warrants, evidence, and even witnesses against him long lost. Without any country to extradite him to, Indian authorities let him return to France.
After his return to France, overconfident he would not be caught, in 2003, Sobhraj returned to Nepal, one of the few countries where he could still be arrested and where he was still pursued by authorities. According to The Himalayan Times, Sobhraj had returned to Kathmandu to set up a mineral water business. His return is thought to have been the result of his craving for attention and overconfidence in his own intellect.
On 1 September 2003, Sobhraj was spotted by a journalist for The Himalayan Times in a casino in Kathmandu. The journalist followed him for two weeks and wrote a news report in The Himalayan Times with photographs. The Nepalese police saw the report, raided the casino, and arrested an unaware Sobhraj, who was still gambling there. The police reopened the double murder case in 1975. On 20 August 2004, Sobhraj was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Kathmandu district court for the 1975 murder of Connie Jo Bronzich.
He was slapped with a life sentence, for the murder of American woman Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975 in Nepal, after a trial. A life term in Nepal means 20 years in jail.
It was during his stay in Nepal that he also married a local woman, Nihita Biswas, who participated in Bigg Boss’s Season 5.
The Nepal court in 2022 ordered Sobhraj to be released on health grounds after serving more than three-quarters of his sentence. He was deported to France on December 23, 2022. Sobhraj first flew to Doha and then to Paris on Qatar Airways flight QR647. He will be barred from entering Nepal for the next ten years.
Ten years back, Charles Sobhraj had married lawyer Nihita Biswas when he was serving a life sentence in Nepal. She is 44 years his junior. Nihita Biswas, the wife of serial killer Charles Sobhraj, said on his release from jail that it has been long awaited and that they are elated. “The main thing is that I want him to get back safely. We have been waiting for him for all these years. We are going to receive him nicely, he is going to get a proper health check-up.”
“We’re trying to send him back to his family in France by evening for security reasons. After heart surgery, he had some issues. He might need another surgery,” she added. Health and family are priorities for him now, she said.
Described as “handsome, charming and utterly without scruple”, he utilized his looks and deception to advance his criminal career and obtain celebrity status. He also enjoyed his infamy. Sobhraj has been the subject of four biographies, three documentaries, a Bollywood film titled Main Aur Charles, and the 2021 eight-part BBC/Netflix drama series The Serpent.
The serial killer with blood on his hands for 20 lives is now a free man for “health reasons” and because he spent three-quarters of his life in jail.