Baskota sues Mishra for defamation

Kathmandu, February 28

Former minister of communications and information technology Gokul Prasad Baskota, who has been accused of negotiating kickback from Bijay Prakash Mishra, a Swiss company agent in the security press procurement deal, today filed a defamation case against Mishra at Kathmandu District Court.

Baskota resigned as minister of communications and information technology a few days ago after Mishra leaked an audiotape, where Baskota is heard negotiating Rs 740 million commission with Mishra in the security press procurement deal.

Complaints have been lodged against Baskota at the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority accusing him of negotiating kickbacks in the security press procurement deal. Baskota’s legal move comes a day after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli defended him saying there was no solid evidence against Baskota in the audiotape scandal. He also said Baskota was being treated as if a charge of corruption against him had already been proven.

Baskota has stated in his case that as minister of communications and technology, it was his duty to make efforts to establish a security press in the country to print passport, postal stamp, land ownership certificate and other vital documents and in that course Mishra, who introduced himself as Nepal agent of KBA-Notasys ‘SA’ had met him.

Baskota said he did not entertain Mishra and his company as the man made unlawful offer and that’s why Mishra created false evidence against him to assassinate his character. The former minister said he had told a gathering in Bhaktapur on January 8 that he was going to write a book explaining about those who offered him commission.

He stated that he decided to go for government to government agreement on security press procurement deal as people like Mishra acted maliciously against the interest of the country.

Baskota accused Mishra of preparing false evidence against him from the clips of his statements that he had made on different occasions. He argued that Mishra’s acts violated Section 305 and 306 (1) and 306 (2) of the penal code.

Even if I had held any conversation with Mishra in the past, he was not allowed to record those conversations because such acts are in violation of Section 293 of the penal code, Baskota said and added that Mishra prepared false evidence to assassinate his character after he refused to entertain him and his company. There is no truth in the audiotape and I had not negotiated kickbacks with anybody, he stated in his case.

He said he resigned on moral grounds after questions were raised against him and he would fully cooperate with investigators if an investigation was launched into the matter. Baskota demanded punishment for Mishra under Section 305(3), 307 (1) and 293 (2) and besides making a claim for damages.