RESIGNATION ROW Can Of Worms?

Finance Secretary Rameshwore Khanal’s sudden departure has opened a can of worms that threaten to harm, if not destroy, the government’s credibility<br>SANJAYA DHAKAL

April 8, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 04 No.-20 April 08-2011 (Chaitra 25,2067)

When on March 29 morning finance secretary Khanal walked out of his office and went for a short hibernation, it was the proverbial last straw that had broken the camel’s back.


To his close acquaintances, finance secretary Khanal used to express the growing disenchantment with the ‘all-around corruption and greed’.


But, close sources have confided, enough was enough for him when, on that morning, he was hinted, on no uncertain terms, that his dissatisfaction with the manner the supplementary budget was being prepared and the policy direction it was adopting, was being perceived as ‘non-cooperation’ by the prime minister.


Runaway Secretary?
Immediately afterwards, he put in his papers to the Chief Secretary.


He actually submitted two different letters to the Chief Secretary – one requesting two weeks long leave and another stating his resignation to be effective from April 13.


As far as the deputy prime minister and finance minister Bharat Mohan Adhikary was concerned, all hell broke loose after Khanal’s sudden departure and his subsequent silence.


What resulted in the theories of runaway secretary was his apparent hibernation and lack of knowledge about his whereabouts to even his minister and ministry colleagues.


Different media gave different spins to the story. The ‘Freedom is so precious” line secretary Khanal posted on his Facebook wall before vanishing also unleashed numerous conspiracy theories.


The mud hit the fan. Smeared were the finance minister, prime minister, ruling coalition and even some business houses.


Stories of how Khanal was being pushed to loosen the pace at which the Ministry was conducting investigations on the billion rupees evasion of Value Added Tax (VAT) through the use of fake receipts by the minister under influence of business houses; to how Khanal’s action against casino royalty defaulters and Unity scamsters had drawn ire from certain quarters had been pushed to front pages of the newspapers.


Government In Fire
Four days after he left office, Khanal returned to the capital and remarked that it was his personal decision to leave office.


But much had changed by that time.


Minister Adhikari had been forced to make public his whole-hearted support to actions against fake VAT bill users.

He even had to backtrack from the strong push he gave for supplementary budget.


“We are looking at various options regarding whether to bring in supplementary or full budget. But we will do so in consensus with political parties,” he said.


On Monday, Prime Minister Jhal Nath Khanal himself was forced by the opposition Nepali Congress to address the parliament on secretary Khanal episode.


“The government had not pressured the secretary to resign. If he wants to come back, the door is open and we will ensure there is cordial environment for him to function,” the prime minister said.


For the time being, secretary Khanal has ruled out that possibility. But the episode did highlight the fact that despite secretary’s Khanal’s departure, it won’t be easy for anyone to brush aside the ongoing investigations into tax evasion and/or engage in framing budget outside Ministry’s realm.


Khanal must be taking respites from these facts.


But for PM Khanal and his government, the episode is a smack in the face especially given the volleys of public criticism questioning his integrity and claims of clean governance.
But the episode did highlight the fact that despite secretary’s Khanal’s departure, it won’t be easy for anyone to brush aside the ongoing investigations into tax evasion and/or engage in framing budget outside Ministry’s realm.


Khanal must be taking respites from these facts.


But for PM Khanal and his government, the episode is a smack in the face especially given the volleys of public criticism questioning his integrity and claims of clean governance.

More on Economy

The Latest

Latest Magazine

VOL 12 No.04, September 07, 2018 (Bhadra 22, 2075) Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

VOL 12 No.03, August 17, 2018 (Bhadra 01, 2075) Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

VOL 12 No.02, August 03, 2018 (Shrawan 18, 2075) Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

VOL 12 No.01, July 20, 2018 (Shrawan 04, 2075) Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75