Pokhara, December 27

Released following the order of the Supreme Court last week, Rajiv Gurung, alias Deepak Manange, has filed an application with the Provincial Assembly of Gandaki Province seeking to take oath of office as a Provincial Assembly member.

Gurung, accompanied by his aides, turned up at the Provincial Assembly Secretariat and filed his application today. Under-secretary Narayan Prasad Adhikari confirmed that an application on behalf of Gurung seeking his swearing-in as a PA member had been registered with the secretariat.

Commenting on the application, PA Speaker Netranath Adhikari said action on the application would be taken as per the law.

“The court has released him on date, not acquitted him altogether, so regarding whether or not he should be allowed to be sworn in, will be in keeping with the law,” he added.

It is important to note that the PA regulations of the province provisions the scrapping of PA membership of a member if s/he absents himself/herself for 10 consecutive meetings without prior notice.

Gurung’s PA membership, however, still stands given the fact that he is yet to be sworn in, but legal eagles have pointed out very little chance for him to be sworn in now. As he’s only been released on bail and the case against him is yet to be settled, there are no chances for him to be sworn in, explained a lawyer.

Though 60 persons were elected to the Provincial Assembly, there are just 58 members now. While Gurung hasn’t been sworn in yet, another PA member Tek Bahadur Gurung died just last week. An independent candidate, Gurung, alias Deepak Manange, was elected from Manang B in the provincial elections held in October last year. Though he had tried to fight as an official candidate from then CPN-UML, following protest from within the party, he had filed his candidacy as an independent. He was elected with the support of the then left alliance.

After being arrested from Swoyambhu on an attempt to murder charge on April 20, Gurung had been sent to Dillibazaar prison following the order of the Supreme Court, which had upheld Patan Appellate Court’s order to keep him in detention in connection with the attempt to murder case.

Lately, Manange’s release came as per the provision of the new penal code that allowed anyone sentenced to less than 10 years’ of prison sentence to fight his/her case from outside the prison. After Gurung had applied seeking his release as per the new penal code provision, the SC had ordered his release on December 21.

Initially, the District Court of Kathmandu had handed down two years’ prison term to Gurung in relation to a khukuri attack he had mounted on another gangster Milan Gurung, alias Chakre Milan, 14 years ago. Citing the lenient sentence on an attempt to murder case, the district attorney office had filed a writ at the then Patan Appellate Court against the district court’s verdict.

While the then appellate court had rectified the district court’s verdict and passed a five-year prison term, a verdict of the Supreme Court too had upheld the appellatecourtverdict. The court, had, however, given clean chit to Rewat Karki, Ramesh Sunuwar, Umesh Lama and Ganesh Lama who were also involved in the attempt to murder case.