Special Court acquit CAAN’s former Director General in corruption charge

The Special Court on February 22, 2018 has acquitted former Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Er. Ratish Chandra Lal Suman including former CEO Prachandaman Shrestha, former secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation Sharad Chandra Poudel, former joint secretary of the same ministry Megh Bahadur Pandey, former secretary Sushil Ghimire and former secretary of Nepal Law Commission Ranjan Krishna Aryal in the bill of Corruption.

Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on April, 2015 had filed a corruption case against 23 high-ranking government officials, including two sitting secretaries who were suspended from the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) chief Subas Nirola, on the charge of embezzling Rs340 million.

The Special Court on Feburary 22, 2018 had also convicted former chief executive officer of Nepal Tourism Board Subash Nirola, NTB official Anil Kumar Das and tourism entrepreneur Mahendra Khanal for corruption.

The court imposed a fine of Rs 8,051,362 and a seven-year jail sentence on Nirola and a fine of Rs 5,029,054 and a six-year jail sentence on Das. Besides these fines, the court also ordered to recoup Rs 5,459,723 from Nirola and Rs 2,437,415 from Das. The Special Court imposed a fine of Rs 154,224 on tourism entrepreneur Mahendra Khanal.  The court, however, acquitted 20 other defendants in the case.

A bench of judges Baburam Regmi, Dwarika Man Joshi and Narayan Prasad Pokharel delivered the verdicts after conducting 23 hearings in the case.

The CIAA on 2015 had charged sheet filed at the Special Court for the accused the officials of misappropriating taxpayers’ money and demanded Rs810 million in fines.

The officials were accused of pocketing Rs 6.13 million by producing fake air tickets and Rs 2.47 million in the name of purchasing alcohol. The charge sheet accuses Nirola alone of embezzling Rs330 million in procurements. Shiwakoti, Tika Ram Sapkota, Poudel and Aryal have been slapped a combined Rs 6.12 million in penalties for promoting irregularities by amending the bylaws.

Similarly, former tourism secretary Ghimire, Pandey and Caan DG Suman, including private sector representative Pampha Devi Dhamala, Rewat Bahadur Thapa, Dhruba Narayan Shrestha and Phur Gyalzen Sherpa have been slapped a combined penalty of Rs 112.89 million.

Former Director General of CAAN Er. Ratish Chandra Lal Suman in his tenure has attributed by the country’s aviation sector. The contract to upgrade Nepal’s Domestic Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa as the second international airport was awarded to the that China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group likewise, to build a regional international airport in Pokhara was awarded to the lowest bidder from China, CAMC Engineering Co, etc was done during his tenure.

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