Khadka fails to establish kinship with judge in Nepal Republica case

Published On: June 1, 2018 07:07 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, June 1: Former chief of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) Gopal Khadka, who tried to avoid final hearings in a defamation case by alleging kinship between the promoters and journalists of Nepal Republic Media Pvt Ltd and a judge at Kathmandu District Court (KDC), has ultimately failed to prove the kinship.  

Even after demanding additional time for establishing kinship between the media promoters and judge Kailash Kumar Subedi, Khadka failed to prove the kinship and has conceded as much before the court.

Submitting an application,  Motilal Tamang, who has Khadka’s power-of-attorney, conceded that he could not prove kinship between the media house and the judge as ordered by the bench. 

Thereafter the court  scheduled final hearings in the case for June 5, according to the legal advisor to Nepal Republic Media (NRM) Pvt Ltd, the publisher of Republica and Nagarik dailies.

On May 21, Judge Subedi had asked Khadka to prove kinship between himself and the media house promoters when Khadka  submitted a written application demanding that the judge  refrain from hearing the case because of the alleged kinship. 

Section 30 of the Court Management chapter of the Muluki Ain prohibits judges from adjudicating cases relating to close kin. But Khadka had asked for a  change of bench without establishing any such kinship. Hearings in the case had been frequently postponed since the last few months.
Judge Subedi is considering the case filed by then NOC Chief Khadka who had filed a defamation case against Nagarik daily, seeking damages of Rs 800 million  for  news stories about him carried by the Nagarik and Republica dailies.

Khadka named NRM Managing Director Binod Raj Gyawali, Director Shobha Gyawali, Nagarik Editor-in-Chief Guna Raj Luitel and correspondent Dilip Paudel as defendents for publishing a series of anti-corruption stories relating to NOC. He has  claimed Rs 200 million as compensation from each of them.

Terming the news stories and editorials run by Nagarik to be non-factual, Khadka had argued in his petition that instead of rewarding him for the good work he has tried to do in his post, his image was tarnished by the defendants. He claimed that he was insulted by the news stories about millions in  misappropriations involved in the procurement of land  for building NOC storage depots.

However, the  media house promoters and  journalists at NRM have claimed in the cross-complaint they filed in  court that they have run the news stories on the basis of parliamentary investigations and what the news sources  furnished. They also sought Rs 1.50 billion in compensation from Khadka for  falsely implicating them.

Nepal Republic Media Pvt Ltd Managing Director Gyawali has lodged a separate case against Khadka over his recording of a defamatory statement at  parliament’s industry, commerce and consumer rights protection committee and claimed damages amounting to Rs 500 million from Khadka.

Both cases are awaiting final hearings at KDC as all the procedural work has already  been completed.

More than a dozen  lawyers are representing Nagarik in the case including senior advocates Raman Kumar Shrestha, Balkrishna Neupane, Rabinarayan Khanal, Surendra Bhandari, Kumar Regmi and advocates Tikaram Bhattarai, Sunil Pokhrel, Bhimarjun Acharya, Madhav Basnet, Ananta Raj Luitel, Bikash Bhattarai and Nanibabu Dahal. The hearing is scheduled for June 5.

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