Revealed: Businessman Bhatta is mastermind behind controversial arms procurement deal for Nepal Police

Published On: July 15, 2022 10:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 15: It has been revealed that a controversial businessman is the mastermind behind the government's plan to purchase weapons for Nepal Police. 

The businessman Deepak Bhatta, who was involved in arms procurement for Nepal’s armed forces even in the past, is found to be behind the multi-million rupees plan to procure arms for Nepal Police after his video came to the public. There are apprehensions that massive corruption is at play behind the plan as the government plans to procure small arms for Nepal Police from an Italian company, Beretta, at a price four times more than the actual unit price.

In the video clip aired on a national television channel on Thursday, Bhatta can be heard saying that he can make deals with various governments, parliament, leaders of opposition parties, and neighboring countries to procure arms. 

However, businessman Bhatta claimed that he is not involved in the purchase of weapons for Nepal Police. "I don’t have any involvement in this case. I have no idea where the video came from," he told Republica. 

Nepal Police had stopped using 12-bore guns 10 years ago. “I don't know why they are trying to bring the same weapon now,” said former DIG Hemanta Malla. According to a Nepal Police official, the need for weapons cannot be hidden from anyone, but questions have been raised about the process and transparency in bringing them.

"In the last local level election, Nepal Police had to borrow weapons from Nepal Army. But if we see the facts around it can be easily understood that there is a political pressure for not procuring modern weapons," said a source at the Nepal Police Headquarters.

The government has allocated a budget of Rs 840 million to purchase 1,000 units of 9mm pistols, 1.3 million units of ammunition for the pistols, 1,150 units of 12-bore shotgun and 200,000 shrapnel, 300,000 rounds of rubber bullets and 25,000 tear gas shells from Italy.

Even as the country is undergoing an economic recession, then Finance Minister Janardan Sharma transferred money from the ministry to buy weapons. Nepal Police Headquarters stated that they are going to buy weapons as they do not have enough weapons.

Police have not purchased any weapon since 2071 BS. It is said that the police need weapons as they have not purchased them for a long time. “Nepal Police is in need of weapons and that’s why we are purchasing it,” said DIG Tek Prasad Rai, Central Spokesperson of Nepal Police.

‘During the Terai movement, the police had to bring weapons from the police offices in the hilly districts to contain the situation. I cannot say how many weapons the Nepal Police has now. But we are in need of them urgently. Nepal Police Headquarter has started the arms procurement process due to this,” said DIG Rai.


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