ANANTA RAJ LUITEL
KATHMANDU: The Kathmandu District Court is planning to crack down on at least 13,000 criminals who have been convicted of various offences but have been on the run for the last six decades. The convicts include those found guilty of corruption as well.
“We, jointly with the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police, are conducting a search operation to nab the culprits, so we are hopeful that we will be able to get hold of them soon. And this will, we hope, will help change the public perception about execution of court verdicts,” Chitra Bahadur KC, Chief, Judgment Execution Section, Kathmandu District Court told The Himalayan Times.
Despite court verdicts, lackadaisical approach in execution has left people to doubt that even after convicted, criminals, who should be behind bars, mostly manage to walk scot free.
CIB led by DIG Rajendra Singh Bhandari and JES have been working jointly to hunt down convicts for the last few months and the result so far has been positive. “We have arrested at least 100 persons and recovered Rs 330 million in the last one year,” said KC adding, “We want to change the public perception that court verdicts are not executed.”
The day former minister and Nepal Congress leader Chiranjivi Wagle was arrested on March 17, the CIB and JES team had nabbed Gehendra Mall who has been convicted of defaulting fine to the tune Rs 12 million.
In the last one year, KDC also arrested convicts Kalu Gurung, Rajesh Shrestha and Som Bahadur Lalchan — all have been charged with defaulting fine in millions of rupees. KDC is also hunting to get hold of other convicts of forgery, cheating, foreign exchange, bank default and robbery cases.
According to KDC records, majority of the convicts have been absconding since 1970 and there are even cases since 1940 in which the convicts are waiting with a nominal fine of Rs 10, Rs 5 or even less.
With the Supreme Court verdict to arrest Wagle and his prompt arrest a day after, a precedent has been set in deciding a case and executing the verdict.
“This has inflicted a fear psychology on corrupt people,” said Government Joint Attorney Yuba Raj Subedi. According to him, Wagle’s case has also sorted out some disputed legal questions which are similar to other pending cases against former ministers Gobinda Raj Joshi, Khum Bahadur Khadka, late Rabindra Nath Sharma, and former home secretaries Padam Prasad Pokhrel, defence secretary Chakra Bandhu Aryal and former IGPs Pradip SJB Rana, Achyut Krishna Kharel and Moti Lal Bohara.
Joshi has already been summoned for the court proceedings and cases against Khadka are in the process of reopening.
The apex court has been preparing to reopen cases against former IGPs Kharel and Bohral responding to an appeal filed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority.
According to a source at the apex court, cases filed against late Nepali Congress President GP Koirala’s personal secretary Gokarna Paudel, former secretaries Chakra Bandhu Aryal, former minister Rabindra Nath Sharma and Sabitri Rajbhandari were scrapped by the Special Court, but the apex court will examine whether giving a clean chit to them was tenable. Former top bureaucrats Shree Ram Panta, Nagendra Prasad Ghimire, Dilli Raman Sitaula have also been waiting an apex court decision on corruption cases.