KATHMANDU, August 16: In an attempt to cover up the misdeeds of a Superintendent of Police (SP) of the Armed Police Force (APF), a head constable has been sent to jail instead. After Naresh Singh Sahu, a senior constable working in the battalion No. 44 of Darchula’s Armed Police Force, leaked information to the media about the irregularities in the ration allowance committed by SP Tribhuvan Bista, instead of investigating the SP, the constable was sent to jail. Sahu, accused of leaking information about weapons, was sent to jail on the orders of an APF Special Court.
“To protect SP Bista, the legal wing of the APF Headquarters not only dismissed Sahu from his job after accusing him of leaking information regarding weapons but also sent him to prison for pre-trial detention,” said a source. However, SP Bista has not been investigated yet. Sources claim that since he has protection from the Prime Minister’s Office, the APF has not even been able to conduct an internal investigation. After the police force tried questioning him, it was stopped immediately following the pressure from the central power.
Head Constable Sahu had shed light on irregularities in the ration allowance within battalion no 44 Headquarters Khalanga by the battalion head. SSP Aryal of the police force’s legal branch has charged him with the crime of providing details about arms and ammunition to an unauthorized person and having conducted a ‘fraudulent’ act. The information was broadcast on 11th June through a media outlet operating from Dhangadhi along with the news that out of the 258 people working in the battalion, 122 security personnel were absent on the same day.
SP Bista is the head of the APF Nepal battalion no 44. Sahu gave information about financial irregularities conducted by SP Bista to journalist Santosh Singh Thagunna. After which the journalist published the news. Constable Sahu was dragged into the controversy after the journalist, who was supposed to protect the identity of the source, revealed details about the source in the news.
He went to the battalion and stated that it was constable Sahu who had passed him the information. Sahu, who was hoping for some improvement after exposing the situation in the APF, has now been unfairly dismissed after falling prey to the ploy of SSP Aryal.
On June 13, Sahu was brought from Darchula to the APF headquarters at Halchowk, Kathmandu. Leaking the internal information of a military organization is a crime. The organization has issued a prison sentence against constable Sahu on the charge of providing confidential and sensitive information about the organization to the media through social networks including Viber. Currently, constable Sahu is in Dillibazar Jail. There is a provision for life imprisonment for “an attempt or encouragement to an attempt to make security-related information available to national or international unauthorized persons, organizations or groups”. Accordingly, the Armed Police Force Headquarters registered a case against Sahu at the special court of the police force.
“Armed Police Senior Constable Khim Singh Bista of Armed Police Force Nepal battalion No. 44 Headquarters Darchular on June 11 said that Naresh Singh Sahu, stationed from Armed Police Force Nepal battalion No. 25 Headquarters Parbat to battalion No. 44 Headquarters Darchula, should be punished for leaking information about the battalion’s internal information regarding weapons and manpower as well as performing activities of a kind that would cause damage to the internal and organizational structure of the battalion,” sources said.
Sources claim that after the case was registered at the Special Court of the Armed Police Force, the allegation that Head Constable Sahu had committed an offense under Section 27 of the Armed Police Act 2058, Sub-Section 1 (f) was forcibly confirmed.
There have been accusations for many years that hundreds of security personnel are being given leave in different units of the Armed Police at the same time while their ration allowance was gobbled up by the senior officials. DIG Bidur Khadka, Spokesperson for the APF, said that action had to be taken because Sahu had leaked confidential information. “We are conducting an internal investigation into this matter. After the investigation concludes, the matter will be clear,” said DIG Khadka.
Head Constable Sahu asserts that he only provided information about the leave and ration allowance to the journalist; however, he has been accused of leaking the details of weapons as well. “Other charges have been pressed forcibly. The Armed Police Force sent him to pre-trial detention accusing him of leaking the information about the number of hand weapons and armed police in the ranks,” the source said.
It is mentioned in the investigation report that he also filed an anonymous complaint against the organization. Sahu was sent to jail on July 8 for violating the Armed Police Act, 2058. Even though Inspector General of Police, Raju Aryal claims to have been interested in this matter, he has not been able to form a committee to investigate SP Bista and the said-financial irregularities. “The IGP has been under a lot of pressure from the political power center not to investigate the matter of SP Bista, so he has been spared so far,” the source said.