The so-called top politicians and big political parties are warned not to dig their political graves themselves by trying to shield the accused.
The recent uncovering of the ‘Fake Bhutanese Refugee Scam’ has sent shockwaves throughout Nepal. As the investigations progress, it becomes increasingly evident that the involvement of top politicians from major parties and other powerful figures cannot be ignored. In our previous editorial titled 'Politicization of Crime or Criminalization of Politics?' published on May 4, we highlighted the magnitude of this scam and its potential impact on the nation. Unfortunately, recent developments have only strengthened our initial concerns, raising questions about the protection afforded to the arrested and the potential shielding of others implicated in the scandal.
While the police deserve commendation for their efforts in apprehending some high-profile individuals connected to the scam, it is disheartening to witness the apparent protection and delayed action against certain figures. For instance, the son of former Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, has been arrested, but the senior Rayamajhi himself remains at large despite an issued arrest warrant. Similarly, the arrest of former Deputy Prime Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa's security advisor, Indrajit Rai, begs the question of whether such a huge scam could be executed without the knowledge of Thapa himself! These instances do raise legitimate doubts about the fairness and impartiality of the ongoing investigations.
The recent actions and behavior of some arrested individuals and their connections with influential politicians further contribute to the suspicion of political interference. Former minister and suspended UML secretary Rayamajhi's claim of sickness as a reason for not reaching out to the police appears dubious. Similarly, the accommodation provided to former home minister Bal Krishna Khand, who has already been arrested, raises eyebrows as “he was allowed to sleep in the DSP's room instead of a regular cell.” Additionally, the distance maintained by the police towards Nepali Congress President and former PM Sher Bahadur Deuba's spouse Arzu Rana Deuba and Manju Khand, the spouse of the arrested former home minister, despite their names being linked to the scam, seems inconsistent.
The attempt by Arzu Deuba to dismiss the audiotape released implicating certain individuals including her as fake by filing a police complaint warrants skepticism. It brings to mind the proverbial sly thief trying to pave the way for their self-proclaimed innocence by rushing to the authorities before anyone can blink an eye! Such actions undermine the public's trust in the investigative process and hint at a potential cover-up to protect the culprits. Parties and politicians involved in shielding the guilty should be aware that they are ultimately digging their own political graves by being complicit in these acts.
Nepal's fight against corruption and the pursuit of justice requires swift action against all involved in the scam, irrespective of their political standing or influence. The recent arrests, albeit a step in the right direction, underscore the long road ahead in eradicating corruption and holding those in power accountable. This scandal exposes the need for stronger measures to prevent corruption, strengthen the justice system, and ensure that both the police and judiciary are adequately resourced and independent.
The criminalization of politics and politicization of crime have both tainted Nepal's political landscape. This unfortunate situation has forced many in Nepal to believe that the current political system as a whole was brought in so that the politicians would be free to execute such scams. This is a huge threat to the foundations of democracy. To restore faith, strong institutions and an independent judiciary are crucial in upholding the rule of law and ensuring that no one is above accountability.
In short, the ongoing fake Bhutanese Refugee Scam has unraveled a complex web of corruption, implicating top politicians and powerful individuals. But efforts are being made to protect some arrested figures while delaying actions against others. It is imperative that all those involved in this scam, regardless of their political affiliations or positions of power, are held accountable. The pursuit of truth and the fair administration of justice must prevail over any attempts to shield the guilty. Only through transparent and unbiased investigations, swift arrests, and a commitment to upholding the rule of law can Nepal begin to restore faith in its democratic institutions.
The parties and politicians who choose to protect the culprits are not only jeopardizing their own political futures but also undermining the trust of the Nepali people. The time has come for a resolute stand against corruption, the dismantling of the criminal-political nexus, and the establishment of a society where the principles of justice and integrity prevail. Only then can Nepal move forward towards a brighter and more accountable future.
At last, this infamous scam should be unmasked fully. And, once again, we urge all politicians and political parties concerned not to dig their own political grave!