KATHMANDU, Jan 22: Narendra Pathak, one of the members of the judicial commission formed to investigate the irregularities in the wide-body aircraft purchase scam, has expressed his inability to work as a member of the probe commission saying “I can’t bear double responsibilities.”
Former attorney general Pathak has already communicated to the government to this effect.
Pathak said he is currently leading a five-member probe committee formed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate the rape and murder of Nirmala Pant, a 13-year old girl, in the district of Kanchanpur. Other members of the Pathak-led committee are Harihar Wasti, former Additional Inspector General of Police Bigyan Raj Sharma and two forensic experts from National Academy of Science and Technology.
“Since I am already heading a probe panel formed by the NHRC, I am unable to work as a member of another probe committee. So, I’m not in a position to bear double responsibilities right now,” Pathak told Republica.
After conflicting reports surfaced over the wide-body aircraft purchase scam, the government on January 4 formed a three-member judicial probe commission to look into the scam.
The judicial panel led by former Appellate Court chief judge Gobinda Prasad Parajuli includes former AG Pathak and chartered accountant Madan Sharma.
The Parajuli commission was formed a day after a sub-committee of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommended action against 29 top officials including the incumbent tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari.
The parliamentary committee has concluded that embezzlement of Rs 4.35 billion has taken place while purchasing two wide-body aircraft for Nepal Airlines Corporation and implicated the tourism minister.
Some have taken the move as an attempt to derail independent investigation into the multi-billion-rupee aircraft scam and give impunity to those involved in it.