Leaders meddled in House panel to clear NOC chief: Lawmakers

Published On: September 12, 2017 04:45 AM NPT By: Dilip Poudel

KATHMANDU, Sept 12: Parliament's Industry, Commerce and Consumer Rights Protection Committee has failed to take a decision as per the recommendations of the panel formed to probe  embezzlement of millions in buying land for Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), and this despite the fact that most of the committee members clearly stood for recommending  legal action against the officials involved.

Though the committee endorsed the probe panel's report which has categorically pointed to instances of irregularities and recommended legal action, the committee head and some members tried not to mention any legal action in the decision taken at Monday's meeting.
Most of the committee members, while airing their views at the meeting, had clearly suggested naming the NOC executive director and other board members involved in the land buying process for legal action. 
But committee chair Bhisma Raj Angdambe suddenly halted the meeting for 15 minutes and formed a subcommittee to draft a decision for the committee.

Lawmakers Subhash Chandra Thakuri of CPN-UML, who also headed the probe panel, Narayan Karki of NC and Janak Budha of CPN (Maoist Center) and committee secretary Sudarshan Khadka were the members of the subcommittee.

The subcommittee while drafting the decision didn't mention any legal action against the officials involved.

"The lawmaker [Thakuri], who headed the probe panel that concluded that there was massive irregularity in the land buying process, was himself afraid of naming those involved in the scam and suggesting legal action against them. He should have been clear about this," said committee member Rambir Manandhar of CPN-UML. 

Sources said lawmakers Thakuri and Budha and secretary Khadka stood against recommending legal action and naming names. Some lawmakers claim that there was huge meddling in the committee from political leaders and NOC Executive Director Khadka for the acquittal of the guilty. Asked about the lawmakers discontent over the decision, Thakuri said, "The report itself is enough for taking action against the guilty if the government wants."

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