Major General Shahi sacked as CoAS Sharma in retaliation purge against those close to former CoAS Thapa

Published On: March 3, 2023 08:30 AM NPT By: Arun Bam

KATHMANDU, March 3: Nepal Army (NA) has dismissed Major General Prem Shahi from the service. Although Major General Shahi was arrested on charge of his involvement in financial irregularities, the military court eventually sacked him on the charge of ‘mutiny’.

According to NA Headquarters, the military court led by Major General Tara Dhwaj Pandey decided to sack Shahi on the charge of ‘mutiny’. It is said that two other officers at Judge Advocate General's Department-- Colonel Mahendra Jung Shah and Lieutenant Colonel Kuldip Timilsena – put in custody as accomplices of Major General Shahi have faced ‘partial’ action.

“The verdict has been announced on the case. The military court has decided to sack Major General Shahi from the service,” said NA Spokesperson Brigadier General Krishna Prasad Bhandari. “Two other officers have not been dismissed from the service. They have faced partial action.”

Spokesperson Bhandari said he is yet to receive the full verdict of the military court. It is not clear what verdict the military court announced against Shah and Timilsena. All three officers have been released from the army’s captivity following the verdict of the military court.

Major General Shahi had knocked on the door of the Supreme Court after the NA Headquarters prematurely handed over the letter of ‘retirement leave’ on the basis of an error in his academic certificate.  The apex court had ordered the NA Headquarters not to implement its decision to hand over the premature ‘retirement leave’ to Shahi.

Shahi had reached the Army Headquarters on January 3 carrying the same order of the apex court. But the military police had arrested him on the orders of CoAS Sharma. On the same day after the arrest, the military headquarters said, "He was arrested on the basis of a complaint of not maintaining financial discipline."

After the arrest, a Court of Inquiry was formed on January 4 and the investigation was initiated. The move was widely seen as an attempt of CoAS Prabhu Ram Sharma to take revenge against all senior NA officials who worked closely with the former CoAS Purna Chandra Thapa.

Major General Shahi is considered as an official close to former CoAS Thapa. “Since Major General Shahi was close to former CoAS Thapa, CoAS Sharma had cast an evil eye on him (Shahi) from the beginning. However, CoAS Sharma thought that Shahi could be sent home on January 4 by showing the error in his certificate over his age," said a source close to Shahi. "But to their surprise, Major General Shahi went to the Supreme Court. After he came back to the service with the order of the Supreme Court, a strategy was adopted to frame him."

The Court of Inquiry formed under Brigadier General Baburam Shrestha conducted an investigation on ‘mutiny’ and loss and damage of property of the army instead of what was said to be failing to maintain financial discipline. “This is the height of revengeful action. He was first handed over a letter of ‘retirement leave’ citing the error in his academic certificates. But as he returned to the army headquarters with the apex court order, he was put into custody on the charge of failing to maintain financial discipline,” said a former NA General, asking not to be named. “Since the allegation was less likely to be proved and became weak on legal ground, Shahi was dismissed on artificial charges such as mutiny and causing loss and damage of property belonging to the army. This is nothing but the height of revengeful action [taken by CoAS Sharma].”

The NA Headquarters initially said Shahi was arrested on the charge of not maintaining financial discipline. As per Clause 62 of the Military Act, the charge falls under corruption, whose investigation is carried out by a committee headed by the Attorney General recommended by the government. Similarly, such cases are heard by the Military Special court, which is headed by a High Court judge recommended by the government as per Clause 119(1) of the Military Act.

Sources claimed that since there was no strong legal ground to take action against him on the charge of not maintaining financial discipline, the NA Headquarters at the recommendation of CoAS Sharma devised new tactics to sack Shahi. Accordingly, Shahi was framed in the artificial cases of being involved in mutiny and causing loss and damage of army’s properties.




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