KATHMANDU, Aug11: Almost 20 months after his removal from the post of CIAA chief, it has been claimed that Lokman Singh Karki had offered Rs 100 million to then chief justice Sushila Karki, seeking her favor in a court case. Durga Subedi, husband of Sushila Karki, made the claim in a recently published book, Biman Bidroha.
“One of the members of the group said, ‘There is a plan to wash feet [goddhuwa] in a huge silver pot!’ Another took me to a separate corner and said, ‘A Rs 100 million stash is waiting in the car parked outside the gate as a gift,’” reads Subedi’s book. “I knew then just how crooked and dangerous a man Lokman was.” The washing of feet or goddhuwa was a metaphorical reference to the cultural practice of gifting money to the bride at a wedding ceremony.
Subedi relates anecdotes of how defendants influence the chief justice and other justices when high-profile cases land at the apex court. In his book, Subedi further says that CJ Karki had the hardest time when facing the case concerning Lokman’s qualification for the office of CIAA chief.
Questions were already raised in the media about Lokman’s eligibility. Also, Krishna Jung Rayamajhi, who headed the commission probing atrocities in the 2006 uprising, had accused him of suppressing peaceful protests and disqualified him from holding public office.
However, in the case filed against Lokman, an apex court bench headed by justice Gopal Parajuli had acquitted him. Sushila ordered a review of the case after yet another writ petition was filed at the apex court questioning Lokman’s appointment. At the same time, there were protests across the country led by Dr Govinda KC, demanding Lokman’s impeachment.
Under pressure from the protests, Lokman was resorting to all available tricks to influence the court, states the book. He feared Sushila’s forthright nature and so tried establishing kinship with her. This would disqualify her from adjudicating his case, or so he thought.
“Both Sushila and Lokman are from Biratnagar and have the same surname. Taking advantage of this, Lokman tried to establish kinship with her.” The court later ruled that kinship would make a difference only if it involved the right to inherit property.
Subedi has also mentioned that Lokman tried to bow to his (Subedi’s) feet as a brother-in-law when they encountered each other at the Osho Tapoban for a religious function. “A Nepali Congress leader and I had gone to Osho Tapoban run by Anand Arun. Lokman was there. He bowed before me. I was totally confused. He was neither my brother-in-law nor did we have a custom of bowing to our elders. However, I put my hand on his head,” Subedi has written in the book. “I then came to know I was taken to Tapoban to negotiate with Lokman.”
The author has also said that Lokman had reached Sushila’s house in Biratnager in a bid to win over her family. “He went to Sushila’s house together with her brother and bowed to the feet of her 85-year-old mother,” states the book, “It was rumoured that Sushila’s mother gave her blessings to Lokman.”
Lokman had also gone to Sushila’s residence at Baluwatar together with her brother. When their vehicle entered the compound security let them through on seeing the brother inside.
“Immediately after noticing this I stopped them before they entered the house because I was fully aware about the consequences”.
Lokman had sent a team to arrange the goddhuwa function at Sushila’s house after the first attempt to meet her aborted. According to Subedi, army personnel were then mobilized to send Lokman’s team back, cancelling the goddhuwa. The team had to turn back with the Rs 100 million and the silver pot.