Kathmandu, February 12
Senior Advocate Bal Krishna Neupane filed a public interest litigation at the Supreme Court challenging the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority’s decision not to indict former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal, Baburam Bhattarai and ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) General Secretary Bishnu Paudel’s son Navin in the Lalita Niwas land grab case.
The CIAA had recently filed a corruption case against 175 individuals including former deputy prime minister and Nepali Congress Vice-president Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, former ministers Chandradev Joshi and Dambar Shrestha for their alleged role in the Lalita Niwas land grab case.
Neupane has urged the court to issue an order to the CIAA telling it to file cases against Nepal, Bhattarai and Paudel as per Section 59 (c) of Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 35 of the penal code.
The CIAA had stated in the charge sheet that Nepal and Bhattarai-led Cabinet decisions related to Lalita Niwas land case were the Cabinet’s collective policy decisions over which it had no jurisdiction.
Nepal was the prime minister from 25 September 2010 to 5 February 2011 and Bhattarai was the executive head from 29 August 2011 to 13 March 2013.
Neupane cited his own case in which the Supreme Court had stated that decisions of the ruling party related to its election manifesto were policy decisions. The petitioner argued that all decisions of the Cabinet could not be policy decisions and what Nepal and Bhattarai’s Cabinet decided were not policy decisions.
Stating that the CIAA acted with the motive of giving immunity to Nepal and Bhattarai, Neupane urged the court to order the CIAA to investigate whether they were involved in corruption by filing a case against them.
Neupane stated that the CIAA had propounded a new theory by deciding not to indict Navin Paudel and others for returning Lalita Niwas land plots registered in their name. The CIAA had said that it was not indicting Paudel and Supreme Court Justice Kumar Regmi as they had pledged to return the Lalita Niwas land plots to the government.
Land Revenue Office, Dillibazar, has already reclaimed the land plots registered in the names of Paudel and Regmi. Neupane said one cannot escape punishment just because he or she agrees to return criminal property.
Neupane named the CIAA, Nepal and Bhattarai as defendants, among others.
A version of this article appears in print on February 13, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.