Investigations reveal fake licenses were issued ‘under higher orders’

Published On: May 26, 2024 08:30 AM NPT By: Tapendra Karki

KATHMANDU, May 26: In a case submitted to the court by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police regarding the issuance of fake driving licenses, former directors general of the Department of Transport Management are implicated. The case states that they acted 'under higher orders.', but the source of these orders is not disclosed.

In the indictment prepared by the CIB, it is mentioned that the accused stated they had acted according to orders from higher authorities. However, the individual who issued these orders has not been disclosed.

Regarding the preparation and distribution of fake licenses, and printing licenses at a fast pace for financial gain, the police conducted various investigations and registered two separate prosecutions with the District Government Attorney Office. The court has already concluded the detention hearing and issued a sentencing order for the first prosecution.

The Kathmandu District Court has released Suraj Prakash Aryal, the then engineer of the Department of Transport Management who played a key role in issuing fake licenses to Shashank Basyal, on a bail of Rs 500,000. A case related to document forgery has been registered in the Kathmandu District Court against him and seven others.

The bench of District Judge Durgabahadur Bhusal asked Suraj Prakash Aryal to post a bail of Rs 500,000. Similarly, in the same case, the court also asked Narayan Prasad Pandey, a computer operator at the Transport Management Office in Butwal, to post a bail of Rs 500,000. Both of them stated that they had issued the licenses "under higher orders" but claimed not to know who had given these orders.

Similarly, the district court required Harish Bhatta, a former engineer at the Department of Transport Management, to post a bail of Rs 200,000. The District Government Attorney Office is also preparing to bring another case against him to the court. Additionally, they are investigating allegations of forgery of official documents and signatures against him, with the prosecution currently under review by the District Government Attorney Office.

An investigation officer from the CIB stated, "It has been said that the orders came from higher authorities, and the investigation into the officials who gave these orders is ongoing. There will be continuous investigation into the high-ranking employees of the Department of Transport Management. This is just the beginning; the investigation is not yet complete. For now, the case has been sent due to legal obligations."

After a car Shashank Basyal was driving hit a pedestrian who died at the scene, Bashyal was provided with a fake license to avoid potential punishment. The gang issued him the fake license in exchange for money. With this license, Basyal was released from custody. The CIB filed a case in the Kathmandu District Court against the driver, Basyal, and his father, Thaneshwar Basyal, making them both defendants.

The CIB has also made Akramuddin Musalman and Arun Karki, known as Lattu Nau, defendants in the case. The CIB has registered a case against them for illegally printing and distributing driving licenses using fake documents.

When there was a shortage of license cards, the Department of Transport Management implemented a 'fast printing' system to facilitate the issuance of licenses, especially for those going abroad for study or work. It is alleged that during this process, through manipulation, licenses were printed in exchange for bribes ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000.

Based on the receipts of visa, passport, air ticket, NOC (No Objection Letter) for students, and labor approval for workers, the rule allowing licenses to be issued within three days was allegedly misused through the 'fast printing' system, printing licenses based on fake documents. In this regard, the CIB has made Harish Bhatta, Pradeep Sunuwar, Milan Bastola, Birjukumar Chaudhary, Basanta Pandey, Ganesh Bhandari, and Deepa Neupane defendants in the case.

In this way, while distributing fake licenses, they used to send the money collected to the higher-level employees of the Department of Transport Management.

The CIB had accused Aryal of being involved in the business of providing written and trial-based 'B' category licenses to individuals with disabilities. According to the CIB, an 18-year-old from Syangja, Basyal, had been driving a car even before obtaining a license in mid-June 2023. He was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. Basyal was immediately taken into custody by the police. He only had the license to ride a motorcycle. His father, in contact with the gang, had arranged for a license for driving a car to avoid legal action against his son.

After the gang of Aryal and Bhatta, who are active in issuing fake licenses, agreed on financial transactions, the team of Narayan Prasad Pandey, a computer operator working in Butwal, was made to fill in all the details by tampering with the license of a person named Shivpujan Mallaha.

The gang of Computer Engineer Aryal, Computer Operator Bhatta and Computer Operator Narayan Pandey from Butwal organized and provided a fake license to Shashank who had killed an individual in a car-hit accident.

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