KATHMANDU, March 29: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to submit the latter's official decision not to file charge-sheets against former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Baburam Bhattarai over the Lalita Niwas land scam.
Responding to a writ petition filed by advocate Bal Krishna Neupane, a joint bench of Supreme Court justices Anil Kumar Sinha and Hari Prasad Phuyal ordered the CIAA to produce its decision not to file charge-sheets against Nepal and Bhattarai, the former prime ministers.
Senior advocate Neupane moved the SC demanding both Nepal and Bhattarai be implicated in the scam together with other government officials and former ministers.
In his writ petition, Neupane claimed that the CIAA's decision to spare former PMs Nepal and Bhattarai and Navin Poudel, son of CPN-UML leader Bishnu Poudel, and Supreme Court justice Kumar Regmi from corruption charges was not justified.
Although there was huge public outcry on the CIAA's decision to give a clean chit to the former PMs Nepal and Bhattarai over the Lalita Niwas land scam, the anti-graft body argued that ex-PMs Nepal and Bhattarai were exonerated on the grounds that the decisions taken by their cabinets were “policy decisions''. It also claimed that it did not have the jurisdiction to look into the policy decisions made by the cabinet.
On February 6, 2020, the CIAA charge-sheeted 175 individuals, including some erstwhile bigwigs, at the Special Court, accusing them of involvement in illegally registering Lalita Niwas land in the names of various individuals.
Nepali Congress (NC) leader and former deputy prime minister Vijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, former ministers Chandra Dev Joshi, Chhabiraj Pant and Dambar Shrestha, former government secretary Dinesh Hari Adhikari and former secretary and CIAA ex-chief Dip Basnyat are among those charge-sheeted by the CIAA.