President grants pardon to jailed FNCCI IPP Pradeep Jung Pandey

KATHMANDU: President Ram Baran Yadav on Monday granted pardon to the corruption convict Pradeep Jung Pandey, immediate past president of the Federation of the Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The President today granted pardon to 21 persons as per a recommendation of the Cabinet, according to a press statement issued by the President's Office.

The President's legal advisor Lalit Bahadur Basnet confirmed that Pandey is also in the list.

Yadav's press advisor Rajendra Dahal also said that Pandey was pardoned as the Article 151 of the Interim Constitution authories the President to grant pardon to convicts after the Cabinet recommends so.

Asked whether a corruption convict can be granted such an excuse, Dahal said the President did not have any right to refute the Cabinet recommendation.

Pandey was sent to jail over a three-decade-old corruption case on March 18 this year after a Supreme Court order.

At the time of arrest, he was the sitting president of the umbrella organisation of the Nepali private sector. Following the arrest, the Federation removed Pandey and elected Pashupati Murarka as the President on July 3.

He was convicted in the corruption case that he was involved in while working as an accountant at the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage during 1980s.

Pandey then was slapped a jail term of three years and a fine of Rs 5,000 but he was yet to serve the jail sentence of one year, nine months and 27 days. Before the arrest in March, Pandey had claimed that his jail sentence was waived by the then king on November 20, 1985. He had also claimed that his fine had also been waived by the then king through a separate decree.

The issue that Pandey had not served his jail sentence had hit headlines after his rivals raised it during the election for the office bearers of FNCCI in April last year. Pandey’s opponents had argued that since Pandey was convicted in a corruption case, an issue of moral turpitude, he cannot hold any public post.

The SC in March had observed that petitioner Pandey could not produce any evidence to support his claim that his jail sentence was waived by the then king on November 20, 1985. The apex court had said in its verdict that it did not find any record of evidence supporting his claim with Kathmandu District Court. The petitioner failed to prove that the then king had waived his sentence on November 20, 1985, the court had observed in its order.