Nepal Army's ex-chief Gadul Shamsher no more

KATHMANDU: Nepal Army's former Chief of Army Staff Gadul Shamsher Rana died at the age of 80 on Wednesday. He suffered from sarcoma -- a rare type of skin cancer.

Rana breathed his last following a cardiac arrest at the Chhauni-based Army Hospital at around 2:19 in the wee hours this morning, according to a family source.

Rana served as the chief of then Royal Nepal Army from May 15, 1991  to May 4, 1995.

Born to a noble Rana family in Lalitpur on March 20, 1936,  he began his army career in June 1956.

He put in papers after a massive corruption scandal surfaced in the Royal Nepal Army's ordnance procurement. Several army officials, including Major General Yogendra Pratap Rana who was the Master General of Ordnance and three other senior officials, were court-martialled in the scandal.

Major General Yogendra Pratap Rana was the second man in the army when the corruption took place.

Taking moral responsibility of the multi-million rupees corruption that embarrassed the army, Rana resigned on May 5 -- 10 days prior to his mandatory retirement.

Rana, who ascended to the top military position after Satchit Shamsher Rana, was succeeded by Dharmapal Barsingh Thapa.

Rana was the first contingent battalion commander of second United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF II) deputed in Sinai Peninsula of Egypt in 1973 for peacekeeping. The Nepali peacekeepers returned home in August and September of 1974.

According to the United Nations, 6,973 -- including contingents from Nepal (571), Austria (604), Canada (1,097), Finland (637), Ghana (499), Indonesia (550), Ireland (271), Panama (406), Peru (497), Poland (822), Senegal (399), Sweden (620) -- served in the UNEF II.

After returning to Nepal from the peacekeeping mission, Rana and other army personnel contributed the money that they received as allowance to set up the Army Welfare Fund.

During Rana's tenure as the chief, many important tasks were done to develop and modernise the army, according to the Nepal Army's Directorate of Public Relations. The establishment of the mountaineering school in Mustang and the Army Command and Staff College in Shivapuri are his significant achievements.

Rana was cremated at Pashupati Aryaghat in Kathmandu today.

The Chief of Army Staff, General Rajendra Chhetri and other top army officials paid their last tributes to the retired general before his last rites were carried out as per the family tradition.

Rana is survived by his wife, two daughters and two sons.