NC obstructs Parliament proceedings

Kathmandu, February 6

A day after the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority indicted Nepali Congress leader Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar in Baluwatar land-grab scam, the main opposition party today obstructed the House of Representatives proceedings, stating the government influenced the CIAA to carry out political vendetta.

The anti-graft body yesterday filed corruption case against 175 individuals and organisations, including the NC’s vice-president and parliamentary party deputy leader Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, for their role in transferring government-owned land in Lalita Niwas, Baluwatar, in individuals’ names.

Just as Speaker Agni Sapkota announced commencement of the House proceedings today, NC lawmakers stood up from their seats. The speaker then allowed NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal to speak.

Bhusal began her speech lamenting that credibility of the CIAA, an independent constitutional body, had been eroded. “Can the CIAA act to carry out political vendetta?” she questioned. “This is not a democratic practice.”

According to Bhusal, Gachhadar, former minister of physical infrastructure and transport, has been indicted on the basis of a proposal that he tabled in the Cabinet which validated transfer of government-owned land at Baluwatar in the names of individuals.

“However, the then prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, who presided over the Cabinet meeting that approved Gachhadar’s proposal, has been given the clean chit,” she said. “It was not Gachhadar’s decision, but the Cabinet’s decision. If the PM does not want, no proposal can be tabled in the Cabinet, let alone its endorsement.”

Bhusal argued that the government influenced the CIAA to carry out political vendetta against opposition leaders and let off leaders of the ruling party.

Pointing out that the CIAA let off NCP General Secretary Bishnu Paudel’s son Navin in the Lalita Niwas land-grab scam as he agreed to return the plot, Bhusal said no law in the country had such a provision. “Can a person be given the clean chit just because s/he returns illegally-acquired property?” Bhusal questioned. “This forces us to raise questions over the CIAA’s credibility.”

At the end of her presentation, Bhusal said her party would not cooperate in the commencement of the House proceedings and all the NC lawmakers stood up from their seats. Speaker Sapkota then adjourned the House till 1:00pm tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the NC held a meeting of its incumbent and former office bearers at NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba’s residence this morning. The meeting concluded that Gachhadar’s indictment was guided by prejudice and mala fide intention.

“The conclusion was based on series of events where NC members have been slapped with false cases to demoralise them,” NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said at a press meet this afternoon.

Sharma added that the CIAA’s move not to file case against Bishnu Paudel’s son Nabin Paudel and indict others in a similar case suggested the decision was influenced by the government. He also questioned why former prime ministers Madhav Nepal and Baburam Bhattarai, who presided over Cabinet meetings approving Baluwatar land sale, were not indicted.

When asked what would be his party’s next move, Sharma said the party was holding meetings with its sister and friendly organisations to devise a plan. He, however, said his party and Gachhadar would respect the court and tackle the case both legally and politically.

Meanwhile, the NC’s student wing has planned to hold a demonstration at Maitighar Mandala tomorrow afternoon to protest Gachhadar’s indictment.