PM Dahal directs Chief Secretary Aryal to take leave

Published On: March 4, 2024 08:00 AM NPT By: Tapendra Karki

KATHMANDU, March 4: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has instructed Chief Secretary Baikuntha Prasad Aryal to go on leave, citing Aryal’s alleged involvement in financial misappropriation related to the Telecommunication Traffic Monitoring and Fraud Control System (TERAMOCS).   

Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said that the Prime Minister on Sunday morning instructed Chief Secretary Aryal to take leave.

The Prime Minister issued this instruction as the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) was finalizing preparations to file a case against Aryal. The CIAA is said to have prepared to register a case based on allegations of irregularities worth millions of rupees in the procurement of the TERAMOCS by the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA). Moreover, Aryal has also been implicated in a million-rupee scam related to the purchase of NTA's ‘billing system’.

Aryal, who provided a statement to the CIAA while serving as chief secretary, claimed to have followed the Supreme Court's order during the process of procuring TERAMOCS. The current Health Minister Mohan Bahadur Basnet, former Communications Minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, former Communications Secretary Mahendra Man Gurung, then-Secretary Baikuntha Aryal, Federal Affairs Secretary Binod Singh, former Chairman of NTA Digambar Jha, and outgoing Chairman Purushottam Khanal have also given statements in this case.

Aryal, who was scheduled to retire last June, was appointed as the Chief Secretary just three days before his retirement. Shankhar Das Bairagi had resigned from the post of Chief Secretary, and Aryal was appointed to succeed him after the acceptance of his resignation. An emergency cabinet meeting was convened on June 15 to appoint Aryal as Chief Secretary.

According to sources in high authority, cases have been prepared against Bijay Kumar Roy, Rewatiram Panth, Suresh Basnet, Hiranya Prasad Bastakoti, Achuta Nanda Mishra, Sandeep Adhikari, Surendra Lal Hada, Kailash Karki, Min Prasad Aryal, Dipesh Acharya, Arjun Ghimire, Surya Prasad Lamichhane, Dhan Raj Gyawali, Tika Prasad Upreti, Chudamani Chaulagain, Hem Kumar Shrestha, Ram Mani Duwadi, Tek Nath Acharya, and others.

Purushottam Khanal, the outgoing Chairman of the NTA, in his reply to the Public Accounts Committee, stated that according to the Supreme Court's order issued on May 1, 2021, it is clear that the company with the highest score had got the contract, the regular budget had already been approved, and since there was no specific budget allocation for TERAMOCS, the Ministry of Finance provided a supplementary budget for it, and the procurement process was conducted accordingly. He said  that after technical errors were detected, the tender was canceled based on a letter from the CIAA. Subsequently, a company involved in the bidding process appealed to the Supreme Court, which issued an injunction in its favor to proceed with the purchase of TERAMOCS.

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