Monday, February 12, 2007

Panel finds 25 guilty in RCCC case

A judicial panel formed to document the excesses of the dissolved Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC), formed by King Gyanendra to "deal with graft" after his takeover, has recommended action against 25 individuals for "abusing power".

Government lawyers, bureaucrats and police officers are among the individuals, besides RCCC's Chairman Bhakta Bahadur Koirala and its four members.

Though the King had constituted RCCC through a royal decree exercising the emergency provision of the 1990-constitution, the panel has not reported any action to the king, a source told the Post on condition of anonymity.

Controversial ever since its formation, the anti-graft tribunal was dissolved by the Supreme Court on February 3, 2006. The court had declared the body unconstitutional. It had arrested many politicians, including former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, former minister Prakash Man Singh, bureaucrats, and a judge.

The report has not been made public, however. The Post has received the names of some individuals found guilty by the panel.

The names include Koirala, members Shambhu Prasad Khanal, Raghu Chandra Bir Singh, Prem Bahadur Khati, Hari Babu Choudhari and member secretary Shambhu Bahadur Khadka. The panel has asked the government to take action against these individuals, except Shambhu Bahadur Khadka, accusing them of misuse of power, under the Corruption Control Act. But the panel has recommended that the Judicial Council take action against Khadka, who is now an appellate court judge. Khadka has been found guilty of working in the RCCC without mandatory permission of the Judicial Council.

Similarly, other names are government lawyers Prem Raj Karki and Rajendra Pokhrel, bureaucrats Ram Prasad Ghimire and Krishna Prasad Sapkota. Ghimire had directed the arrest of Pyuthan District Judge Birendra Kumar Karna on the charge of accepting bribe. Karna was then relieved from the post.

Police officers also feature in the panel's report on guilty individuals. They are Binod Singh, Basanta Kunwar, Madhav Khanal, among others.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister Sunday assured the panel headed by Appellate Court Judge Madhav Ojha of action upon recommendation, while accepting the report.

According to Ram Prasad Gaudel, a member of the panel, Prime Minister GP Koirala also committed to make public the report "as soon as possible".

The panel has recommended to the government that a law be enacted to provide compensation to the victims of RCCC excesses. "The panel has received 28 formal applications from victims but there are scores of them," a source involved in preparing the report told .

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