Office of the Attorney General gives ‘clean chit’ to RSP Chair Lamichhane in passport fraud case

Published On: March 21, 2023 08:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The decision courts serious controversy as government is accused of misusing its powers to expand its support base

KATHMANDU, March 21: The Office of the Attorney General has decided not to proceed with the passport-fraud case related to Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) Chairman Rabi Lamichhane.

Attorney General Dinmani Pokharel on Monday took a decision to this effect based on a report received from the High Government Attorney's Office through the District Government Attorney's Office, Kathmandu. With this, RSP Chairman Lamichhane has received a clean chit in a case that accuses him of obtaining a passport through an invalid citizenship certificate and that the government offices will not prosecute him in the case.

The decision comes a day after the file of the investigation related to passport misuse reached the Attorney General's Office. Earlier, police had submitted the investigation file to the District Government Attorney's Office in Kathmandu. The District Government Attorney’s Office then decided not to proceed with the case and sent it to the High Government Attorney's Office for consideration.

RSP Chairman Lamichhane has Nepali and American passports and it was alleged that he used two passports at the same time. He courted controversy after he was found to be using Nepali passport without renouncing his American passport.

Lamichhane initially got into controversy by not completing the process of obtaining Nepali citizenship. In the dispute, the Supreme Court scrapped his position as a member of the House of Representatives (HoR) arguing that he did not have a valid Nepali citizenship.

Although he had also subsequently lost the position as the party chairman, Lamichhane was reinstated in the position after he acquired the citizenship card again. The decision of the Office of the Attorney General paves the way for Lamichhane to contest the by-election scheduled for April 23 in Chitwan Constituency -2.

The Office of the Attorney General, however, has courted serious controversy as a section of people have accused the government of misusing its powers to give amnesty to someone who is involved in a serious crime of that nature. A section of media reported on Monday that a senior RSP leader had visited Attorney General Pokharel to settle the case as Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal was preparing to take a vote of confidence in parliament. 

RSP, which earlier had withdrawn from the Dahal-led government, extended its support to Prime Minister Dahal during the trust vote in parliament on Monday. 


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