POKHARA, March 15: The Pokhara High Court on Thursday rejected a writ petition filed by Khuma Prasad Aryal, chairman of Gandaki Medical College (GMC), allowing the police to arrest college officials and begin probe against them on charges of fraud.
Chairman Aryal had moved the court seeking the release of college officials and help to end the ongoing protests at the college after MBBS students protested against the college administration accusing it of charging fees higher than what Nepal Medical Council has determined. Although the council has fixed a maximum Rs. 4.2 million from each MBBS student, GMC students have accused the college administration of charging an additional Rs 1.5 million from each student.
Angered by the college move, the students have started protests and police arrested two college officials — Laxman Prasad Sharma and Santosh Khanal — as part of their investigation into the charge of surcharging the students. Seven more college officials were also accused of being involved in the scam.
Challenging police action, Aryal had moved the court seeking the release of the arrestees and help end the protests. Responding to Aryal’s petition, a division bench of Pokhara High Court Chief Judge Kumar Chudal and judge Ram Krishna Yadav refused to issue any interim order as demanded by the writ petitioner.
With this, police can arrest the seven accused any time for investigation into the fraud case. Apart from the two arrestees, seven college officials, Aryal, Principal Rabindra Shrestha, Accounts Chief Yubaraj Sharma, Accountant Harimaya Paudel, administrator Dinesh Poudel and other officials Tilak Paudel, Krishna Paudel and Krishna Ghimire have been accused of the ‘fraud’.
Kaski police chief Om Prakash Rana said the police have been mobilized to arrest those accused in the fraud case. “We were searching for them for long. The search operation will be expedited further following the court order,” said SP Rana.
Students have welcomed the court decision. “It’s a welcome decision. We were worried whether college owners could buy justice but we are now happy with the decision. Justice has been done,” said Anit Sinha, a student protesting against the surcharging by the GMC administration.
Sinha urged education minister, vice-chancellor and registrar of Tribhuvan University to create an environment conducive to resume studies at the medical college.