It's Official: Nepal Prince Killed Royals

Hopped up on narcotic-laced cigarettes and his favorite whiskey, and trapped between love and duty, Nepal's crown prince shot dead almost his entire family at the royal palace this month, an official panel concluded today.

Before gunning down his parents and seven others at a regularly-scheduled dinner party, Prince Dipendra spoke by mobile phone to Devyani Rana, the woman he wanted to marry, the panel said in a report.

Dipendra's parents, King Birendra and Queen Aiswarya, had opposed the marriage, and reportedly told him that if he went through it, his younger brother would take his place as crown prince.

Rana is now hiding in Europe, fearing for her life. After the June 1 massacre, riots shook Nepal for several days as crowds mourned the slain royals and demanded an explanation for the crime.

Some doubted Dipendra could have committed the massacre, and speculated that the newly crowned King Gyanendra or his son were somehow behind it.

Until the report was released today, the official explanation was that the killings were accidental.

Suppressing Dissent With Investigation

The much-anticipated report was released today in an effort by King Gyanendra, Birendra's brother, to put to rest questions surrounding the massacre at Narayanhiti Palace.

The two-member panel, which was in session for a week, was made up of Supreme Court Chief Justice Keshav Prasad Upadhyaya and House Speaker Taranath Ranabhat.

Ranabhat told a news conference broadcast live on Nepalese state TV and radio today: "A drunken crown prince indiscriminately fired, killing the royals."

The panel issued a detailed report on the events of the night, but it was silent on two points.

It did not say whether Dipendra shot himself after the killings, as has been widely reported. Dipendra died in a hospital of gunshot wounds three days after the massacre.

However, Ranabhat said the panel found no cartridges at the scene of the crime other than those used by Dipendra.

The report also did not say where security forces were at the time of the massacre.

The panel interviewed more than 100 people, including survivors and criminal experts. Rana also gave a recorded testimony to the panel and confirmed she shared an intimate relationship with Dipendra, according to the report.

Reuters quoted the Nepalese-language newspaper Rajdhani as saying that of all the people interviewed, more than 99 percent had "pointedly said" Dipendra was responsible.

Prelude to a Tragedy

According to the panel, Dipendra joined the dinner at 7:30 p.m. with the rest of the royal family.

He had a few drinks of his favorite alcohol, "Famous Grouse" whiskey, and after showing signs of inebriation, was taken to his room by Prince Nirajan, Prince Paras, and two others.

In his room, he asked an aide for some cigarettes, and smoked them, according to the report. They were described as a "special kind of cigarette prepared with a mixture of hashish and another unnamed black substance," and the report said the prince had been smoking them for a year.

Dipendra then sent the men away and made a call from his mobile phone to Rana in Katmandu, the report said.

After speaking to the Prince, the report said, Rana then telephoned some aides of Dipendra and told them that the crown prince was probably sick. When they arrived, he reportedly went to the bathroom to vomit and then ordered them to leave.

The Carnage Begins

Shortly afterward, Dipendra made two more mobile phone calls to Rana.

At the end of the last phone call, Dipendra told her, "I am now about to sleep", "good night, we'll talk tomorrow."

After some time, Dipendra came down to the billiard room, where members of the royal family were relaxing after dinner, and began shooting, Ranabhat said.

Dipendra was carrying at least three weapons, according to the panel. They were displayed at a press conference and described as a Glock pistol, a 9mm MP-5K, and an M-16 assault rifle.

Ranabhat said Dipendra shot the king first, and then rained bullets on everyone else in the room. The queen and Prince Nirajan apparently ran out of the room into the garden, but Dipendra chased them and shot them too, the report said.