Investigation into Fake Refugee Scam is Incomplete

Published On: May 25, 2023 07:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The ongoing investigation into the fake Bhutanese refugee scam by Nepal Police has garnered both praise and skepticism from the public. While the police have made notable arrests, including high-profile individuals, a significant number of VIPs who appeared on the investigation radar have been neither interrogated nor apprehended. This apparent discrepancy in treatment has led to widespread criticism, highlighting a troubling double standard in the application of the law. The imperative for a comprehensive and impartial investigation cannot be overstated. It is paramount to uphold the principles of justice and ensure equal treatment under the law for all individuals involved in the case.

A cohort of influential figures, including Arzu Rana Deuba, the wife of former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, and possibly even former PM Deuba himself; Ram Bahadur Thapa, the former Deputy Prime Minister and home minister; Nainkala Thapa, the spouse of Ram Bahadur Thapa; Prem Kumar Rai, the current chief commissioner of the CIAA and former home secretary; Rajesh Bajracharya, the former PM KP Oli's personal secretary, and potentially even former PM Oli himself, have been implicated in relation to the scam. Shockingly, the police have not only neglected to question them but have refrained from taking any legal measures whatsoever. This glaring disparity in treatment evokes grave concerns regarding the presence of two distinct systems of law — one for the ordinary public and another exclusively for the so-called VIPs!

The stark contrast in the treatment of individuals implicated in the scam has ignited a wave of public outcry. According to recent news reports, the detainees, currently held in police custody in connection with the scam, have allegedly divulged information in their statements that directly implicates these influential figures, providing substantial grounds for their immediate arrest and subsequent prosecution. But nothing has been done against these so-called VIPs! The absence of any action against them not only erodes public faith in the integrity of the investigative process but also fuels damning allegations that top leaders are actively shielding these privileged VIPs. The apparent failure of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha to ensure justice in this case has not escaped public scrutiny, eliciting a profound sense of disappointment and disillusionment towards their perceived inaction.

Speculations regarding the underlying motives behind shielding specific individuals implicated in the scam have emerged, raising critical questions about the intentions of Prime Minister Dahal and Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Shrestha. Is Prime Minister Dahal apprehensive about the potential consequences that could arise if the support to his government by the Nepali Congress is compromised by taking actions against Arzu Rana Deuba? Does Prime Minister Dahal harbor concerns that the extensive knowledge possessed by former senior Maoist leader Ram Bahadur Thapa regarding his own affairs and those of other political figures could potentially destabilize the government? Or did Thapa actually tell the PM 'Don't forget, I know you inside out!"? Did Oli remind the PM the infamous 'cantonment scam' and the 'Ncell capital gains tax scam' besides the  famous saying 'those who live in a glass house themselves do not throw stones at others'? While these questions are speculative in nature, the general public is already asking these questions, underscoring a growing perception of a dearth of political determination to address the issue with impartiality and resolve.

The ongoing investigation into the fake Bhutanese refugee scam carries immense significance for upholding the rule of law in Nepal. In order to restore public confidence and demonstrate a commitment to justice, it is imperative that the police carry out a comprehensive and impartial investigation. The inclusion of all relevant individuals, irrespective of their political standing, is crucial to ensuring a thorough examination of the case. While it is essential that arrests are based on concrete evidence rather than mere suspicions - as this approach guarantees fairness and transparency throughout the process - letting those who are embroiled in this scam get away just because of the so-called 'benefit of the doubt' is not acceptable. By adhering to these principles, the authorities can reaffirm their dedication to the principles of justice and restore faith in the integrity of the investigation.

The investigation into the fake Bhutanese refugee scam has captivated the attention of not only the Nepali public but also the international community. While the police have taken some individuals into custody, the failure to thoroughly investigate and prosecute high-profile figures implicated in the scandal has cast doubt on the integrity of the entire process. The existence of a perceived double standard, where VIPs seemingly receive preferential treatment, is deeply concerning.

To uphold the principles of justice, it is imperative that the investigation is conducted impartially and shielded from any political interference. The credibility of the government and law enforcement agencies is on the line, necessitating a prioritization of truth-seeking and the fair application of the law. Only through a comprehensive and unbiased investigation can Nepal restore public faith in its justice system and establish a precedent of equal treatment under the law, leaving no room for doubts or suspicions.

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