One after another, leaders with controversial background have come to take charge of the forest ministry at the central government recently.

Just a week after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli sacked Prem Bahadur Ale, whom many know as a timber trader in the western part of the country, the PM has entrusted the ministry to a former minister who was sued over the misuse of red passport once.

Naradmuni Rana, who was elected member of the now-dissolved Parliament from Kailali representing the CPN-UML, has now become the new forest minister by replacing Ale.

Rana had a case against him filed by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority once over the misuse of red passport during his tenure as Constituent Assembly member more than a decade ago. Besides him, cases were also filed against former CA member Gayatri Sah, BP Yadav and Shiva Pujan Raya Yadav.

After he was arrested over the same case in 2011, Rana was suspended from all responsibilities by his party. Later, he was acquitted by the Special Court, but an appeal was filed at the Supreme Court about six years ago against the Special Court's verdict.

The case is sub-judice at the top court now.

There are allegations that Nirmal Baniya of Myagdi had flown to Australia by changing the photo in Rana's special passport. Besides the CIAA's corruption case, even the government attorney had filed a case against him under the passport act.

It is important to note that after being acquitted of the charge by the Special Court, Rana had contested and won in the latest parliamentary elections. As a joint candidate of the left alliance, Rana had secured 27,202 votes against 22,322 votes garnered by NC candidate Arzoo Rana, the wife of NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 11, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.