KATHMANDU, July 6: The main opposition party, CPN-UML, has insisted that Finance Minister Janardan Sharma has to step down before a parliamentary probe committee is formed to investigate his involvement in changing tax rates in the interests of certain business groups in the annual budget for the fiscal year 2022/23.
UML’s demand comes in the wake of ruling parties including CPN (Maoist Center) agreeing to form a six-member parliamentary probe committee to investigate the involvement of Finance Minister Sharma in changing the tax rates to serve the interests of certain business houses. Sources said an official decision to form a parliamentary probe committee has not been taken yet despite parties reaching an agreement in principle to form such a committee.
"We have a feeling that a conspiracy is being hatched to give continuity to the current finance minister by forming a probe committee. So, we have demanded the resignation of the finance minister and formation of a parliamentary probe committee simultaneously," UML Chief Whip Bishal Bhattarai told Republica.
Bhattarai also said that they have not yet reached an agreement on the representation of the party in the probe committee.
Meanwhile, the UML has decided to obstruct the parliament meeting to be addressed by Finance Minister Sharma to give clarification over the allegations he faces in relation to the budget preparation.
Earlier, Finance Secretary Madhu Kumar Marasini had decided to stay on leave until Finance Minister Sharma remains in office.