Special Court acquits 4 former chiefs of APF

Kathmandu, July 1

The Special Court today acquitted four former inspector generals of Armed Police Force Kosh Raj Onta, Sanat Kumar Basnet, Shailendra Kumar Shrestha and Basudev Oli.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority had filed corruption cases against 22 APF personnel, including four former IGs of APF, in 2016.

The bench of Special Court Chairperson Baburam Regmi and judges Dwarikaman Joshi and Pramod Kumar Shrestha Vaidya acquitted all defendants in the corruption cases after hearing the case for almost a month.

According to SC Spokesperson Pushpa Raj Panday, the court acquitted four former IGs and other defendants as the government failed to prove its allegation against them.

The court observed that the defendants, who had told investigating officers that they had prepared fake documents as per orders of higher-ups, refuted allegations in the court, saying during investigation they were not allowed to record their statement freely.

The court stated that all logistics dispatched by APF headquarters had reached their destination.

The court also found that arrears had already been settled by the defendants.

The Parliament had stated in one of its reports related to impeachment that actions were taken against APF personnel to weaken APF, an important and sensitive security organ.

The court observed that investigating officers neither followed basic principle of fair trial during investigation nor did they thoroughly check documents related to dispatch of logistics.

The CIAA had filed cases against 22 defendants between 1 and 29 February 2016. Defendants were accused of embezzling funds while transporting logistics to APF units across the country.

The CIAA had accused Onta of embezzling Rs 60.7 million. It accused Basnet, Shrestha and Oli of embezzling Rs 10 million, Rs 8 million and Rs 10 million, respectively. The CIAA had also accused Bharat Kumar Thapa of Aditi Transport of embezzling Rs 5.7 million. The CIAA had also accused defendants of preparing fake documents and invoices to embezzle government money.

Onta was indicted by the CIAA in a corruption case three months before he was to retire from service.

Onta held the post of APF chief from April 2012 to mid-January 2016. Oli had served as the chief of APF from mid-August 2006 to mid-April 2009. Basnet had served as chief of APF from mid-April 2009 to mid-August 2011 and Shrestha held the post of APF chief from mid-July 2011 to April 2012.