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Nepal's former crown prince warned over firing incident

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - An administrative court freed Nepal’s former Crown Prince Paras Wednesday over his firing a gun during an argument with a guest at a resort, but only after warning the ex-royal not to repeat such incidents in future, an official said.

Thirty-nine year old Paras, infamous for his nightclub brawls and drink-driving allegations while heir to the throne, had been bail since December last year after being detained for two days in the southern district of Chitwan.

Media reports said he fired a gun during an argument with a relative of a former deputy prime minister at a forest resort.

No one was injured in the incident but the government was under pressure to arrest Paras due to huge media coverage of the incident and public anger at the former monarch and his son.

Officials said Chief District Officer Basanta Raj Gautam found Paras responsible for firing the weapon but decided to free him after the warning. “The incident did take place,” said Hari Sigdel, a senior Chitwan district official. “But he was freed after being alerted and must make a written commitment not to repeat such incidents in future,” Sigdel told Reuters.

Paras, 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 the first former royal to be held by police and appear before a court in Nepal.

Paras’ father, former King Gyanendra, came to the throne in 2001 after the massacre of his popular brother Birendra and eight other royals, reportedly by the then crown prince Dipendra, who later turned the gun on himself.

Gyanendra took over absolute power in 2005 but was forced to step down after weeks of widespread protests a year later.

A specially elected assembly abolished the 239-year-old Hindu monarchy in 2008, turning the Hindu-majority Himalayan nation into a secular republic.

Gyanendra and Paras have lived with their families as commoners in their private home in Kathmandu since then.

Editing by Matthias Williams and Alex Richardson