Kathmandu, February 22
The Special Court today convicted former chief executive officer of Nepal Tourism Board Subash Nirola, NTB official Anil Kumar Das and tourism entrepreneur Mahendra Khanal of corruption.
The court imposed a fine of Rs 8,051,362 and a seven-year jail sentence on Nirola and a fine of Rs 5,029,054 and a six-year jail sentence on Das. Besides these fines, the court also ordered to recoup Rs 5,459,723 from Nirola and Rs 2,437,415 from Das. The Special Court imposed a fine of Rs 154,224 on tourism entrepreneur Mahendra Khanal. The court, however, acquitted 20 other defendants in the case.
A bench of judges Baburam Regmi, Dwarika Man Joshi and Narayan Prasad Pokharel delivered the verdicts after conducting 23 hearings in the case.
Reading out the summary of the verdict, Judge Regmi, who presided over the bench, said the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority had accused the defendants of embezzling millions of rupees under 10 headings. Nirola and Das were sentenced for liquor purchase, individual expenses and purchasing air tickets, while Khanal was sentenced for purchasing air ticket. Regmi said NTB paid Khanal’s company twice for the same air ticket.
According to Spokesperson for Special Court Nagendra Kesari Pokharel, Khanal was the managing director of Worldwide Asian Travels and Tours Pvt Ltd.
There were discrepancies in the liquor purchase bills and individual expense bills that were enough to prove the guilt of Nirola and Das, Regmi added.
Judge Regmi said there was no evidence to convict Nirola and Das on other headings.
“The CIAA accused defendants of receiving payments for programmes that were not conducted, but we found evidence that the programmes were conducted,” he said.
Regmi said the CIAA had accused defendants of leasing vehicles to take foreign guests on tours but the court found no discrepancies in that.
He added that the CIAA had accused NTB officials of committing irregularity by amending the fiscal regulation but there was no evidence to support the accusation. He said Nirola and Das were guilty because Nirola and Das had signed the cheques while they served as chief of NTB and accountant, respectively.
Regmi said the government and convicts could challenge the verdicts in the Supreme Court.
He said the CIAA initiated investigation against 50 individuals but it treated 27 individuals as government witnesses. “It appears that the CIAA used pick and choose policy in filing cases against some defendants,” he added.
Nirola told THT that he would challenge the Special Court’s verdict. “I had given enough evidences to refute CIAA’s accusations against me. I have not seen details of the Special Court’s verdict. I have not seen the Special Court’s reason for refusing my arguments. Once I see that I will move the Supreme Court,” he added.
The CIAA had accused 23 NTB officials and some tourism entrepreneurs of embezzling millions of rupees.
Those acquitted by the court include former CEO Prachandaman Shrestha, former secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation Sharad Chandra Poudel, former joint secretary of the same ministry Megh Bahadur Pandey, former director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, former secretary Sushil Ghimire and former secretary of Nepal Law Commission Ranjan Krishna Aryal.
SC convicts three including Former NTB CEO Subas Niraula of graft
KATHMANDU: The Special Court on Thursday has convicted Former CEO of Nepal Tourism Board Subas Niraula of graft along with Account Section Head Anil Kumar Das and Entrepreneur Mahendra Khanal.
Likewise, the Special Court benched by Chair Baburam Regmi and Justices Dwarika Nath Joshi and Narayan Prasad Pokharel has passed down its verdict sentencing Niraula to seven years in jail.
Moreover, the former NTB CEO has been directed to pay guarantee amount of NRs 8.051 million along with NRs 5.45 million in fine.
Meanwhile, out of the 23 persons against whom the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed corruption charges, 20 have been acquitted.
Similarly, Account Section Head Das has been sentenced to 6 years in jail. Moreover, the Court has ordered Das to pay NRs 5 million in guarantee along with NRs 2.4 million as fine. Likewise, Entrepreneur Khanal has been asked to post an amount of NRs 154,000 as guarantee.
The anti-graft body had filed a case against 23 persons including Former NTB Director Niraula on April 3, 2015 claiming their involvement in a scam worth more than NRs 1 billion. The accusation-letter panned by CIAA had stated that Niraula had misappropriated NRs 330 million from Board’s treasury going against Public procurement Act. Likewise, the then secretary along with other employees had been accused of grafting NRs 420 billion from NTB treasury.