Mahara no stranger to controversies

Kathmandu, October 1

Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who resigned from his post today after being accused of rape, had courted controversies earlier as well.

He landed in controversy during his stint as minister of information and communications in 2007 in the interim government formed after the popular movement of 2006. He was accused of selling telecom frequency for peanuts to Nepal Satellite Telecom promoted by businessman Ajeya Raj Sumargi. In its probe, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee found corruption worth crores of rupees.

Mahara has also been accused of misappropriating more than Rs 400 million in funds meant for maintenance of former Maoist combatants who were kept in cantonments. He had received the amount released by the government over a period of nine months, beginning in April 2007.

He also landed in controversy after a recording of his phone conversation with a Chinese national was leaked in 2010. Mahara was heard demanding Rs 500 million for horse trading before the prime ministerial election. Mahara had claimed the recording was fake.

In 2016, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority had initiated probe against Mahara for accumulating assets disproportionate to his know sources of income.

Mahara hails from Rolpa district, a Maoist stronghold. He was elected from Dang’s Constituency No 2 in the last parliamentary election. A former school teacher, Mahara also won in the first and second Constituent Assembly elections held in 2008 and 2013.

He became Cabinet minister several times after the popular movement of 2006. He was elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in the 1991 general election.

He was appointed interim lawmaker after the 2006 popular movement and became minister of information and communications in the government led by the late NC president Girija Prasad Koirala immediately after the popular movement. He got the same portfolio in the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government after the first CA election.

Mahara was home minister in the Jhalanath Khanal-led government.

He was appointed deputy prime minister and finance minister in the Dahal-led government formed in August 2016.

He became DPM and foreign affairs minister in the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government. Mahara, who went into hiding after the CPN-MC laun-ched a guerilla war in 1996, was the party’s key negotiator during the conflict.