Koirala vs CIAA in final stage in SC

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 13

The Supreme Court today started final hearing on the writ petitions filed by former Prime Minister and President of Nepali Congress, Girija Prasad Koirala and other leaders who had challenged the action of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) against the leaders on corruption charges.

A joint Bench comprising Justices Govind Bahadur Shrestha and Hari Prasad Sharma is handling the case. Shrestha is tipped to become Chief Justice. The Bench has been hearing the petitions filed by

Koriala, Govind Raj Joshi, Arjun N KC, Rabindra N Sharma, Laxman P Ghimire, Surendra Hamal, Moti P Pahadi, Padam P Pokhrel, Jhalak N Wagle, Tara R Pandey and Chakrabandhu Aryal. The verdict is expected shortly.

Pleading on behalf of the leaders, prominent defence lawyers said the CIAA had no right to take action against the leaders based on the report prepared by the Judicial Investigation and Probe Commission on Property (JIPC). They asked the apex court to issue a restraint order against the CIAA. Advocate Ganesh Raj Sharma said that the CIAA had no right to take action on the basis of the JIPC report which was yet to be published.

Sharma accused the watchdog body of initiating action against the leaders at the behest of the government. "The CIAA should clarify its criteria for initiating action against these forty leaders and high-ranking officials," he said. Sharma also said that these leaders, who retired before the CIAA Act and Anti-corruption Act was implemented in 2002, had no obligation to reveal details of their property. Advocate Radheshyam Adhikary accused the CIAA of political prejudice against the leaders. "The CIAA must make clear why they were put under its scanner," Adhikary said, adding that the CIAA had violated norms of due process of law while initiating action.

Advocate Badri Bahadur Karki accused the CIAA of interfering in a matter sub-judice. "It arrested some leaders even after they moved the apxe court. This is a violation of Constitutional norms," he said.