Panchthar district hospital ex-chief accused of misusing government stamp

Phidim, May 17

The district court of Panchthar has granted police a week’s time to hold Dr Tara Prasad Pokharel in custody and investigate the alleged misuse of government stamp during his service period.

Dr Pokharel, a resident of Toribari, Ilam, who served for four years as chief of the district hospital in Panchthar from 1995/96, was arrested on Friday over allegation that he misused the government stamp during his tenure.

Though a case was filed against him in 1996 itself, the case remained pending for years.

Panchthar District Police Chief DSP Krishna Prasad Koirala said, “The case was filed by medical entrepreneur Basanta Pande, but it was not heard in court till now, which is why we only began investigating after all these years.”

According to sources, Pande had been running a private medical shop on the premises of the district hospital before Pokharel became the hospital chief.

Later, as protests against the operation of a private business inside the government health facility grew louder, the hospital development committee shut down the shop.

After the incident, Pande furnished a letter from the concerned ministry to overturn the hospital’s decision to close the shop.

The hospital development committee however stuck to its earlier decision, so Pande filed a case with the district court, identifying the hospital development committee and Dr Pokharel as the hospital chief as defendants.

The court then passed a verdict in favour of the hospital.

Undeterred, Pande then filed another case against Pokharel, accusing him of misusing government stamp and using a correction fluid on the ministry’s letter that according to him, directed the hospital to allow the medical shop to run on the premises of the hospital.

Dr Pokharel and his lawyers however claimed that no document was sent by the concerned ministry directing the hospital to allow a private business to run inside the government health facility.

“It is obvious that the ministry can’t issue such letters which is against the law, so Pande must have forged these documents to implicate me,” said Dr Pokharel.

Dr Pokharel has already served as chief of Disaster Management Department and Children Disease Department under the Health Ministry, after serving as hospital chief in Panchthar and Ilam, respectively.

He has currently been suspended on the order of CIAA.