Nepali Army delays investigation on Major Basnets case

KATHMANDU: The Nepali Army (NA) has delayed the process of investigating the case of Major Niranjan Basnet's expulsion from the UN peacekeeping mission in Chad on the charges of his involvement in human rights violation in the country.

Major Basnet was expelled from the peacekeeping mission on December 12 for his alleged involvement in the murder of Maina Sunar, 15, of Kavrepalnchowk district, during the Maoist insurgency.

The NA had formed a court of Inquiry Board in December 21 last year. However there has been a very little progress in the investigation. It has been almost three months since the Inquiry Board was formed but it has not prepared a report yet.

NA legal department chief and Major General BA Kumar Sharma said board has been doing its job and it would take some times. He said," They are collecting the documents and we need some more time to prepare a report."

Brigadier General Pradeep Bahadur Singh is heading the Court of Inquiry with Colonel Shiva Ram Kharel and Lt. Colonel Rabindra KC as members.

Some times ago, NA had transferred a member the Board to Rolpa district due to which the investigation process was delayed.

The government and the Nepal Army have been facing national and international pressure to present Basnet in the civil court.

International human rights organisations have been saying that a fair, speedy, and public prosecution of Major Basnet will allow Nepal to prove that it is determined to end impunity and deliver justice. However, NA is lingering the process of investigation. An NA source said that three months period is a very long period for such investigations.

However speaking to The Himalayan Times, a highly placed source at NA said that there was no need to investigate Major Basnet's case as it was already settled. The earlier court of inquiry has given a clean cheat to him so further investigation is not necessary, he said.

Supreme Court, responding to the petitions by victim's family, had ordered the public prosecutor in Kavre to complete investigations and file charges.

On September 13, 2009 Kavre District Court had ordered Army Headquarters to proceed with an automatic suspension of Basnet immediately.

However, Basnet had since been promoted to the post of major despite the serious allegation against him.