Former secy charged with ‘defaming govt, prime minister’

Kathmandu, April 26

Kathmandu District Government Attorney’s Office today filed a chargesheet at Kathmandu District Court against former secretary of the Government of Nepal Bhim Upadhyay on the charge of misusing social media for character assassination and defaming the government, as well as Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

The chargesheet was filed on the basis of the investigation by the Cyber Bureau of Nepal Police, which had arrested Upadhyay on the night of April 22 from his residence in Kusunti, Lalitpur. He has been accused of using derogatory language against PM Oli, Health Secretary Yadav Prasad Koirala and other high profile government officials.

A police source said Upadhyay was charged on the basis of four Facebook and Twitter posts where he criticised the government and the PM.

Three of the four messages have been removed from his official Twitter and Facebook account since his arrest.

Although no one had officially filed first information report against Upadhyay, police said he was arrested after receiving complaints from people about his ‘hateful remarks’ on social media.

Senior Superintendent of Police Nabinda Aryal of the cyber bureau said, “We had arrested the accused on the basis of complaints against him of spreading false news on social media and posting malicious content targeted at high-level government authorities.”

Upadhyay was charged under Section 47 of Electronic Transaction Act that prohibits Nepalis from publishing or displaying content on social media that goes against public morality or decent behaviour or spreads hate or prejudice against anyone or jeopardises harmonious relations subsisting among peoples of different castes, tribes or communities.

Those found violating the act are liable to be slapped with a fine not exceeding Rs 1 lakh or with imprisonment not exceeding five years or both.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 27, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.