KATHMANDU, July 10: The government is preparing to purchase crowd-control weapons and equipment for Nepal Police at the end of the fiscal year. At a time when the country's economy is weak, the police are preparing to buy deadly weapons that are not needed immediately.
“The Cabinet has given approval to buy weapons for the police. The process of opening an LC will start in a few days,” a source said, adding, “The purchase of weapons worth Rs 1.35 billion has been proposed. In the first phase, it is planned to bring weapons worth Rs 840 million. For the second phase, Rs 510 million has been allocated for the purchase of arms and ammunition.”
According to police headquarters sources, the government is preparing to purchase 9mm pistols and shotguns. "The issue of buying these weapons has come up through a syndicate. It seems that the one who is going to bring arms has allocated the budget from the Ministry of Finance. It has been speculated that the same person is doing such a thing,” said the source at the police headquarters.
Nepal Police has not purchased weapons for a long time. Preparations are now underway to purchase deadly weapons without a study. "Non-lethal weapons should be procured but the process of procuring lethal weapons is being taken forward," the source said. According to sources, the home ministry is silent on the issue of arms procurement.
Despite the proposal from the ministry, the home minister wanted to move forward only after studying the issue. But under pressure from ‘above’, ministry officials have raised the issue of arms procurement and sent it to the Council of Ministers for approval. “There is a syndicate in the purchase of weapons, equipment (necessary provisions) for Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and the Nepal Police, there is no competition. Weapons will be brought by a single party. Everything is set up from the Prime Minister's Office," the source said. "The country is in an economic crisis. Luxury goods and weapons are not immediate needs," a ministry source said.
Police officials claim that they are preparing to buy weapons by bringing the issue of nearing elections to the federal parliament. “In the past, such supplies were borrowed from Nepal Army and this time to avoid this they are planning to procure the arms. But there is no answer to the question of why lethal weapons should be procured instead of non-lethal weapons?” the source said. Earlier, the then government had tried to buy deadly weapons even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One year ago, on July 5, 2021, the Nepal Army handed over 300 weapons and related items to the police. The Nepal Army had provided 10,818 rifles and machine guns and 1,494,016 rounds of ammunition to the police at no cost.
As per the decision of the Council of Ministers on May 31, 2021, the army had handed over 300 weapons, ammunition and related items to the police in the first phase. The decision was made by the government to provide weapons to the Nepal Police for the purpose of training, security of VIP and VVIP, office security and conducting big programs.
"Only non-lethal weapons should be procured by setting standards, but here it seems to be ready to raise election expenses and buy at the rate fixed by the middlemen," said a source at the police headquarters.
In the past, there was a controversy over the purchase of weapons by Nepal Police. In 2071 BS, there was a controversy that the Nepal Police paid twice as much for the arms purchased from Italy for Rs 27.4 million.