SC reopens controversial verdict

Kathmandu, August 11:

Two weeks after the retirement of former Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma, the Supreme Court today reopened a case in which Sharma had allegedly helped the Surya Tobacco Company Pvt Ltd evade Rs 130 million in tax. A three-member full bench of SC justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Ram Nagina Singh and Sharada Shrestha today ordered the Parliament Secretariat to submit a copy of the 1997 decision of the Public Service Committee (PAC) of the dissolved House of Representatives that ordered the government to collect the amount.

The PAC had then ordered the government to collect Rs 130 million from the Surya Tobacco Company based on the report of the Auditor General. The parliament body had also ordered the Finance Ministry and Inland Tax Offices to collect the evaded amount. Though the Finance Ministry had started work as per the PAC order, the Supreme Court division bench of justices Hari Prasad Sharma and Harischandra Prasad Upadhayay gave the verdict in favour of the company ordering the government not to collect the amount. Sharma retired two weeks ago while Upadhayay died two years back. “The parliamentarians had questioned Sharma’s intention and sought his impeachment. However, formal process for the same could not be started then,” recalled a former PAC member.