Following more than two years of investigation and study of the report by the State Affairs Committee of the Legislature Parliament, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) filed a case against 36 persons at the Special Court for their alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar graft while procuring Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) for the Nepal Police’s peacekeeping mission under the United Nations flag in Darfur of Sudan.
As CIAA gave a clean chit to ministers involved in the decision, legal experts pointed out many flaws in its action as aimed at destroying and demoralizing the country’s only institution responsible to guarantee law and order.
In the charge-sheet filed last week, the anti-graft body has indicted three former Inspectors General of Police (IGPs)-- Om Bikram Rana, Hem Bahadur Gurung, and Ramesh Chand Thakuri, and more than a dozen of incumbent senior police officials, including AIGs Madan Bahadur Khadka and Arjun Jung Shahi. Shahi is currently the head of Metropolitan Police Commissioner's Office (MCPO), Rani Pokhari.
The CIAA claimed that the corruption amounted Rs. 28.8161crores.
Also, the director of London-based APC supplier Assured Risks Pvt Ltd, and the local agent of the supplier Shambhu Bharati of Bhagwati Traders have been named defendants. Following the filing of the case, 26 incumbent police officers have automatically been suspended from their posts. Following the registration of the case at the Special Court, 26 senior officials have been automatically suspended from their posts, thereby, creating a void in the police structure.
Although the decision for the purchase of the carriers for UN Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur was taken by the cabinet headed by Girija Prasad Koirala, in which Krishna Prasad Sitaula was the Home Minister, strangely the CIAA gave a clean chit to minister Sitaula and then home secretary Umesh Mainali. Similarly, remaining funds were released during the tenure of home ministers Bam Dev Gautam and Bhim Rawal, they too were given clean chits.
Instead of charge-sheeting them on the legal basis, CIAA took action arbitrarily on the basis of pick and choose, critics said. Now whatever the outcome, CIAA’s decision has already done a great damage to Nepal Police ruining the career of several intelligent and capable police officers who survived a series of operation in the last one decade.
This is not the first time when senior police officers were humiliated by unaccountable bodies like CIAA. After People’s Movement II, several senior police officers have seen this. For example, Assistant Inspector General of Police Rajendra Bahadur Singh was forcedly retired and then chief of Police Shyam BhaktaThapa was given compulsory retirement.
In the Rayamajhi Commission Report in 2006, Nepal Police force was badly shaken from the top to bottom paving the way for deterioration of law and order. As Nepal Police is in the process of recovering from earlier shakeups, CIAA’s recent action will again demoralize the police threatening the process of normalization of law and order situation. CIAA’s action has damaged the police worse than what it faced during ten years long Maoist insurgency.
Whenever there is a political turmoil, Nepal Police, Nepal’s oldest and largest internal security agency, is the front line organization to suffer.