Nepal's deposed prince arrested over shooting

  • @AlistairDawber

The former Crown Prince of Nepal – the cousin of the man who killed nine members of the country's royal family in a palace gun rampage in 2001 – was arrested yesterday after firing a gun during an argument in a restaurant.

Paras Shah, who was heir to the Nepalese throne when the monarchy was abolished in 2008, and who was already unpopular for his playboy lifestyle, was detained after an argument with the daughter and son-in-law of Nepal's deputy prime minister, Sujata Koirala. Nobody was injured in the shooting. After his arrest, Mr Shah claimed he had opened fire after the people he had been with had insulted him.

"I fired a shot in the air from my pistol in a fit of anger as I could not bear the insult of myself and the country," he said in a statement, without naming the people he had been with.

He added that two guests at a restaurant at a resort in southern Nepal had made "baseless and provocative remarks against his role and the institution he represented".

Mr Shah said he left the restaurant, returning half an hour later and firing his gun into the air once, without harming anyone or causing damage. Rubel Chaudhary, the Bangladeshi son-in-law of the deputy prime minister, Mr Koirala, said that the former prince had threatened to kill him.

"He said he wanted to take me into the jungle to see tigers, but I refused because it was already late at night," Mr Chaudhary told the AFP news agency. "Then he started making threats. He said he was going to kill me, my wife and my children."

The incident caused an outcry among politicians, which prompted his arrest at a hotel in the Fulbari resort in the town of Pokhara, western Nepal. "He will be charged with using a firearm in a public place," said Jay Mukunda Khanal, a spokesman for the interior ministry. Mr Shah moved to Singapore with his wife and children after Nepal's specially elected constituent assembly abolished the centuries-old Hindu monarchy in 2008. He frequently visits Nepal, however, where public resentment has grown against him for his extravagant and playboy lifestyle.

The episode was another blow to the family after a decade of much worse tragedies. The former monarch, King Gyanendra – Mr Shah's father – assumed the throne in June 2001 after his older brother,

King Birendra, was killed in the royal massacre. Eight other members of the family, including the queen, were killed by Mr Shah's cousin, Prince Dipendra.

King Gyanendra took over absolute power in 2005, but he was forced to step down just a year later after weeks of sustained and widespread protests from opposition groups.