KATHMANDU, March 2: Prime Minister KP Oli has said that late tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari was innocent in wide-body aircraft procurement scam.
Addressing the parliamentary party meeting of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) at New Baneshwar, Oli, who is also the chairman of the party, claimed that various interest groups have tried to drag him into the scam.
“Some elements in an unfair manner tried to defame him by dragging him in the wide-body aircraft purchase issue. The allegations made against him are baseless,” Oli said.
The parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had implicated Adhikari in the scam saying he had released two installments for the aircraft purchase.
Oli further added that the wide-body procurement process had started long before Adhikari was appointment minister. He was of the view that Adhikari was victim of the media trial. “These days media willfully decides whom to attack. They don’t go after issues, but go after individuals,” said Oli.
Prime Minister Oli hailed Adhikari as a visionary and energetic leader who brought tangible results through his performance at the ministry. He praised Adhikari for resuming flights at closed airports and for upgrading operational airports.
At the meeting, Oli also recalled Ang Tshering Sherpa as an icon of Nepali aviation and tourism. The prime minister promised necessary government support to the families and children of the helicopter crash victims.
Meanwhile the parliament on Friday endorsed a condolence motion on the demise of Adhikari and six others in the helicopter crash. Both lower and upper houses of parliament observed a minute’s silence.
Adhikari was elected to parliament from Kaski district for three consecutive terms since 2008 representing the then UML, which was renamed NCP after a merger with the CPN (Maoist Center).