KATHMANDU, Feb 20: Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota has said that he stepped down from his post over moral grounds following the questions raised against him in connection to bribery charges.
He took to Twitter on Thursday to share that he tendered the resignation to the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on moral grounds after he was dragged into controversy.
His resignation comes hours after a leaked audio recording of a conversation between Information Minister Gokul Baskota and Swiss Company local agent Bijaya Prakash Mishra, the minister is heard bargaining for Rs 700 million in bribe over the procurement of security printing press for the government.
In the two minutes 31 seconds audio recording received by Republica, local agent Mishra tells the minister that the Swiss Embassy representatives will come to the minister's office at 12 pm coming Monday (Feb 23) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the procurement of the security printing press for the government.
During their brief conversation, the local agent of the Swiss company is heard assuring the minister that he will get the shares of the commission once the deal is done. The local agent says a total of 700 million will be divided on a ratio of 30:70. “You will get 70%,” the agent tells Minister Baskota.
When contacted, agent Mishra says Minister Baskota initially asked for 2 billion rupees as bribe.