‘Store room at APF HQ set on fire intentionally’

  • Central Investigation Bureau asked to probe deeper into the incident

Kathmandu, January 11

A five-member investigation committee headed by joint secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs has corroborated that the incident of December 3 fire in central account store room of the Armed Police Force Headquarters was not accidental but premeditated.

The probe panel formed to conduct a fact-finding investigation into the fire had submitted its report to Home Secretary Mohan Krishna Sapkota yesterday. Property worth around Rs 2.2 million, including important documents related to accounts of the security agency, were gutted in the fire.

“The report concludes that the fire was intentionally set to destroy all evidences by reducing  important files and documents to ashes,” MoHA Spokesperson and Joint Secretary Narayan Prasad Sharma Duwadi said.

The report has also underscored the need to carry out further investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, the MoHA has written to the APF Headquarters to transfer the employees of its Financial Administration Directorate to somewhere else.

The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police has been directed to conduct further investigation into the incident. According to the report, store room was set on fire after the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority summoned some APF employees in a suspected corruption case related to procurement undertaken during the tenure of then APF chiefs Koshraj Onta and Durja Kumar Rai.

Police have already arrested APF head constable Ram Krishna Shrestha and Sub-Inspector Hum Bahadur Thapa for their direct involvement in setting the store room on fire. According to a source at Metropolitan Police Crime Division, the store room was set ablaze with the intention of causing loss and damage to government property and destroy evidences to be submitted to the CIAA regarding the corruption case.

The MoHA said it had also written to the CIAA stating that some documents related to the investigation of corruption case initiated by the anti-graft body were also suspected to have been destroyed in the fire. “Police have already arrested two APF employees directly involved in the arson and the government will initiate legal action against one who caused them to set the store room on fire,” said the source.