Kathmandu, July 25
Bribe solicitation by police officials continues to pose a threat to free and fair criminal investigation despite frequent sting operations conducted by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority.
The anti-graft body arrested two sub-inspectors red-handed while receiving a bribe of Rs 48,000 from a service-seeker last night. This is the third time police personnel have been held with graft amount in less than a week.
CIAA Spokesperson Joint Secretary Pradeep Kumar Koirala said Ramesh Bahadur Pandey and Raju Swarnakar of Gaushala-based Metropolitan Police Circle were caught red-handed while receiving bribe money on the premises of Kabeli Transportation Service Pvt Ltd in Kathmandu.
The sub-inspectors duo had sought the bribe for speedy settlement of cases lodged with MPC under Some Public (Crime and Punishment) Act, 1997.
On Monday, the CIAA arrested assistant sub-inspector Prem Bahadur Thapa of Bagaha Police Post, Rupandehi, with a bribe of Rs 3,500 that he had received from a businessman, promising to facilitate him in the sale and distribution of hardware goods. According to the anti-graft body, ASI Thapa had threatened to jeopardise his business if the businessman did not pay him the kickback.
Likewise, Constable Bharat Katuwal of Sunsari was arrested red-handed while receiving a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a transport entrepreneur. The traffic cop wanted the transport entrepreneur to pay him money for easy movement of a Kathmandu-Kakadbhitta bus.
Of late, public offices have been alerted against sting operations being stepped up by the CIAA by strengthening the information analysis unit to pursue reform, transparency and good governance in service delivery.
The anti-graft body said one person was arrested with bribe on an average of 2.07 work days during the fiscal 2018-19. It arrested and prosecuted 200 persons, including 161 government employees, during the period, the highest number in a fiscal.
Of the government employees, 33 were police personnel ranging from a deputy superintendent of police to constables. The CIAA warned that the arrest of highest number of government employees with bribe in the fiscal 2018-19 indicated the need for the CIAA to make more efforts to curb corruption and bribery in the public sector.
Persons involved in bribery are charged under Sub-Section (1) of Section 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act in the case of government employees, while others working as their accomplices face action as per Sub-Section (2) of Section 3 of the same law at the Special Court.
A government employee convicted of bribery may be sent to jail for a term of up to 10 years, besides being disqualified to hold any government position in future.
A version of this article appears in print on July 26, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.