Nepali Congress stalls Parliament over Baskota audiotape scandal

Kathmandu, February 20

The main opposition Nepali Congress today stalled the proceedings of both Houses of the Parliament over a leaked audiotape wherein Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota is heard bargaining for commission in the process of establishing a security printing press in Nepal.

As soon as Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota started the proceedings of the House of Representatives, NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal addressed the House from her chair and said her party lawmakers would not allow the House proceedings to go on, unless Minister Baskota was sacked, an investigation was launched against him and the government informed the House about the issue.

Speaker Sapkota then urged the NC lawmakers to end their protest as Baskota had already resigned, but the main opposition lawmakers continued to obstruct the House proceedings by rising from their seats. Following this, Speaker Sapkota postponed the Lower House’s meeting till 1:00pm coming Tuesday.

Bhusal said since the Cabinet had made some decisions relating to the Security Printing Press, it should also be held accountable for the allegation of corruption levelled against Baskota.

Earlier, NC lawmakers had stalled the National Assembly proceedings over the same issue.

As soon as NA Chair Ganesh Prasad Timilsina began the House proceedings, NC lawmaker Ram Narayan Dev told the House that his party lawmakers would not allow the Chair to start the House proceedings unless Minister Baskota resigned from his post, a probe committee was launched immediately to investigate the case and the PM informed the House about the incident.

NA Chair Timilsina told the NC lawmakers not to obstruct the House proceedings, but Nepali Congress lawmakers continued to do so following which Timilsina postponed the House meeting till 1:00pm of February 27.

News portal had released the audio-tape last night. In the audio-tape, Baskota is heard negotiating around Rs 740 million in kickback with Bijay Prakash Mishra, a Nepal agent of  Swiss equipment supplier, for procuring security printing press.