Monday, July 31, 2006

Lt General Katuwal follows in Army Chief's footsteps, defies HLPC summon

Lieutenant General Rukmangat Katuwal, did not attend the High Level Probe Commission's (HLPC) summon to record his statement over his alleged role in suppressing the April movement on Monday.

Katuwal, who had been asked by the HLPC to be present at its office by 11 today, did not turn up at the commission's office.

A letter sent to the HLPC yesterday by the defense ministry stated that Katuwal would not be able to attend the HLPC office to record his statement, said HLPC spokesperson Dilli Raman Acharya.

The letter also stated that Katuwal and other army officials summoned by the HLPC would record their statements only after Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Thapa does so.

Major Generals Kiran Shumshere Thapa, Kul Bahadur Khadka, Gajendra Limbu and Colonel Suresh Kumar Karki were also scheduled to appear before the commission on Tuesday to record their statements for their alleged roles in suppressing the April uprising.

Yesterday, CoAS Thapa had refused to appear before the HLPC saying he had to go to Pokhara "as scheduled in advance."

Soon after coming into power, the Seven Party Alliance government had formed the HLPC under the coordination of former Supreme Court justice Krishna Jung Raymajhi to investigate the atrocities committed by the security forces, administrators and officials of the erstwhile royal regime to suppress the 19-day April movement which ended King Gyanendra's direct rule.

Meanwhile, HLPC Coordinator Raymajhi has accused the government of not supporting it in its investigation.

Raymajhi made the allegations answering to journalists a day after CoAS Thapa snubbed the commission on Sunday.

Raymajhi also made clear that though there were some differences of opinion between the government and the commission, the commission had chosen to keep mum "sensing some untoward results."

Saying that he was always dissatisfied by the government's attitude, Raymajhi claimed he would go to the public if any major hindrances are created in the commission's interrogation process.

Raymajhi said that if the flouting of interrogation summons are repeated, "the commission would get hold of them and would record their statements." He claimed that the commission had the authority to do so.

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