Nepal police quiz ex-crown prince over gun row

Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:47am EST
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KATHMANDU (Reuters Life!) - Nepal's former Crown Prince Paras, notorious for nightclub brawls and drink-driving antics while heir to the throne, was questioned by police on Tuesday over accusations he fired a gun during an argument at the weekend.

Paras, who was unpopular due to his lavish lifestyle in a country where a quarter of the 28 million population live on less than $1 a day, was quizzed after allegedly firing the weapon during a row with a relative of the deputy prime minister at a forest resort, local media said.

No one was wounded in the shooting, but the country's caretaker government is under pressure to arrest Paras due to widespread media coverage of the incident.

Police questioned Paras in the tourist town of Pokhara, 125 km (80 miles) west of Kathmandu, after the incident in Chitwan, where the former prince was vacationing, Nepali television channels reported.

"We have started investigations and action against him," police spokesman Bigyan Raj Sharma said without elaborating.

Paras' father, former King Gyanendra, took over absolute power in 2005 after his brother, King Birendra, and eight other royals were killed in a palace massacre. But he was forced to step down after weeks of widespread protests a year later.

A specially elected assembly abolished the 240-year-old Hindu monarchy in 2008, turning the Himalayan nation into a secular republic and sending Gyanendra and Paras to live as commoners in their private home in Kathmandu.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Henry Foy)