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Nepali Congress accuses anti-graft body of witch-hunt in Lalita Niwas land scam




A day after the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority filed charges against 175 individuals, including former minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, the main opposition, alleged that the anti-graft agency was biased and selective.A meeting of the office-bearers of the Nepali Congress on Thursday decided to launch protests on the streets and in Parliament and challenge the charges in court. It also decided to mobilise its sister organisations against the anti-graft body’s decision to file charges against party Vice President Gachhadar and others, according to party leaders.The anti-graft watchdog investigating the Lalita Niwas land scam exonerated former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Baburam Bhattarai, saying it cannot look into decisions taken by the Council of Ministers. Gachhadar, the then Minister for Physical Planning and Works, was, however, indicted for transferring a chunk of public land to private individuals. In Parliament on Thursday, Bhusal, the Congress lawmaker, said a policy decision was taken by the Council of Ministers when Madhav Kumar Nepal was prime minister and Gachhadar Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Works. “Then why was Nepal given clean chit and Gachhadar charged?”The anti-corruption body did not indict Poudel, his son Navin Poudel and Justice Kumar Regmi, both accused of being part of the land grab, saying they agreed to return the plots of land in their names. “The way the anti-graft agency handed clean chit to two former prime ministers, ruling party General Secretary Bishnu Poudel and some others involved in (taking) policy-level decisions and accepting land as a bribe, shows it was guided by political prejudice and vendetta,” Nepali Congress lawmaker Pushpa Bhusal said in Parliament. “This has proved that the anti-graft agency has become a pawn of the government.”Party Spokesperson Bishwo Prakash Sharma said senior Congress leaders have already consulted legal experts. The charges are a part of a design to impose an authoritarian regime by attacking democracy, said Congress party’s Chief Secretary Krishna Poudel. “Our party condemns the move and will challenge it in court.”As per the decision of the office-bearers, the party’s student wing, Nepal Student Union, will organise a demonstration at Maitighar Mandala on Friday afternoon. The party’s lawmakers also obstructed House proceedings on Thursday.

Read the full story on The Kathmandu Post

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