Kathmandu, June 7

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has drawn the attention of Minister for Information and Communications Sherdhan Rai regarding appointment of Dipak Pathak as a member of the Press Council Nepal.

The anti-graft body has also written to Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communications Dinesh Thapaliya about payment of around Rs 9.5 lakh made to Margadarshan, a magazine owned by Pathak, for publication of Public Service Advertisements.

The anti-graft body has said the payment made to the magazine was against the law.

The Department of Information provides PSAs to media outlets based on their category. The CIAA has also directed the government to recoup the amount from Pathak.

“The sum of Rs 953, 500 paid to Margadarshan for publication of PSAs is against the law. For a period of three years, the magazine was not under the category that would have made it eligible for the PSAs amounting to that sum,” the anti-graft body wrote.

MoIC Secretary Dinesh Thapaliya said he has already instructed the Department of Information to take necessary action regarding the matter. The ministry has been preparing criteria for appointment of PCN member as per the Cabinet decision.

Secretary Thapaliya said new appointment criteria in the making would address the concerns of the CIAA. “We will finalise the criteria within a week.

Only those meeting the criteria would remain, while others would be automatically relieved,” he added.