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Courts crack whip on corrupt Nepal politicians

world Updated: Mar 21, 2011 15:33 IST
Utpal Parashar

Like some of their counterparts in India politicians in Nepal are also in the line of fire from courts these days.

In less than a week, two politicians, a former minister and a lawmaker, have been sentenced to jail by courts on charges of corruption and bribery.

On Thursday, former minister and senior Nepali Congress leader Chiranjivi Wagle was sentenced to 18 months in jail and imposed a fine of NRs 20.3 million by the Supreme Court.

Wagle, who was sacked as a minister in October 2002, for amassing wealth disproportionate to his income, would serve a term of five years and five months, for expressing inability to pay the fine.

A senior member in the governments led by GP Koirala, KP Bhattarai and Sher Bahadur Deuba, Wagle had held charge several important ministries before his ouster.

The SC verdict was the first instance of a senior politician getting convicted as per provision of the Corruption Prevention Act of 2002.

Wagle’s arrest had barely left the headlines when a special court sentenced former Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) lawmaker Dol Bahadur Karki to a six month jail term on Sunday.

Karki was suspended from his Constituent Assembly membership in August last year for accepting a bribe NRs 100,000 from a person by promising him the post of an inspector in Nepal Police.

The jail sentence would not come into effect immediately as Karki would get a chance to file an appeal in the Supreme Court.

On Sunday, the Supreme Court summoned former inspector general of Nepal Police Pradip SJB Rana in connection with a 2005 case of allegedly accumulating property illegally.

Earlier this month, suspended executive chairman of Nepal Airlines Corporation, Sugat Ratna Kansakar, spent five nights in jail in connection with an aircraft procurement deal with Airbus.

At present nearly 20 high profile cases involving senior politicians and bureaucrats are pending in Supreme Court.

These include cases against two former ministers, Khum Bahadur Khadka and Govinda Raj Joshi, for amassing wealth disproportionate to their incomes.