Nepal Today

Thursday, June 28, 2012


LANDSLIDE KILLS THREE IN BAGLUNG ALSO Kathmandu, 29 June: Three members of one family missing in Baglung following a landslide at a village overnight. Three houses have been destroyed. Seven members of a family were killed at two in the morning in Tanahu Friday. :nnnn GOVT. PREPARING TO AMNESTY PERSONS CHARGED WITH SERIOUS CRIMES Kathmandu, 29 June: - Despite objections from national and international rights groups, the government is once again preparing to withdraw over a dozen criminal cases, including cases of murder, Praban Kharel writes in the Kathmandu Post.. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai himself tabled the agenda in the Cabinet meeting on May 24, three days before the expiry of the Constituent Assembly tenure. However, after the proposal was rejected, Bhattarai entrusted a three-member team led by Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Top Bahadur Rayamajhi with the task of dealing with the cases, according to a Cabinet member. The PM had first asked Minister for Land Reforms and Management Chandra Dev Joshi to look into the matter, but Bhattarai handed over the job to Rayamajhi after Joshi refused to work, a Cabinet source who attended the meeting said. The Cabinet members wanted to know the background of these persons, for whom the government was trying to withdraw cases," said a Cabinet member, requesting anonymity. The PM, in the capacity of the law minister, had proposed amnesty for 16 persons accused of criminal offences. Bhattarai had presented the cases, including those of Udaya Narayan Adgarai and Balkrishna Kumar Mukhia, accused of the murder of engineer Nawaraj Bista, for amnesty. The Supreme Court in April issued a mandatory order to the government asking it to not withdraw serious cases, even if they were of political nature. The court also asked the government to amend provisions in the Working Procedure and Criteria for Withdrawing Criminal Cases 1998 to make sure that cases related to "serious crimes," including treason, war crimes, crimes against humanity and serious human rights abuses, are not withdrawn. Sources at the Office of the Attorney General said a new criterion has been prepared, but is yet to be approved by the Cabinet. The apex court's April directive followed a writ filed in July 2010 against the then Cabinet's decision on June 30, 2010 to withdraw criminal cases against 20 persons, including Ganesh Kaluwar, accused of murdering five persons, Ram Prakash Yadav, Kanaiya Prasad Yadav, Tara Prasad Yadav and Ambika Mahato, in January 2010 in Bara district. The incumbent government has tried to withdraw criminal cases many times in the past as well. In December 2011, the government prepared a list of over a dozen cases involving more than 130 individuals accused of being part of serious crimes, including murder, arson and robbery. In November last year, the Cabinet recommended UCPN (Maoist) leader Bal Krishna Dhungel, convicted for murder of one Ujjain Shrestha of Okhaldhunga during the insurgency, for presidential clemency after concluding that the case against him was politically motivated. Nnnn 8 IN RACE FOR POST OF CHIEF SECRETARY Kathmandu, 29 June: With a month-and-a-half remaining before incumbent Chief Secretary Madhav Ghimire retires, the race for the top post in the bureaucracy has begun in earnest, Anil Giri writes in The Kathmandu Post. Multiple sources told the Post that at least eight senior incumbent secretaries are in the fray for the new Chief Secretary, a position that will then be occupied for three years. Ghimire, who retires on August 5, is all set to “take leave” on the second half of July following the long-held tradition in the Nepali bureaucracy. Those vying for the top bureaucracy job are Lila Mani Poudel (Prime Minister’s Office), Balananda Poudel (Women and Children), Baman Neupane (President’s Office), Brinda Hada (Irrigation), Umakanta Jha (Industry), Shanker Koirala (Election Commission), Tana Gautam (Urban Development) and Sushil Jung Bahadur Rana (Home). nterestingly, Bhagawati Kumar Kafle, who is the seniormost bureaucrat, is not in the race. After Kafle, on the basis of seniority are Koirala, Poudel, Gautam, Lilamani, Rana, Neupane and Hada. All these secretaries had been promoted on October 10, 2007. “Lilamani, Brinda and Shanker are leading contenders in the race, with strong backing from powerful constituencies,” said a senior bureaucrat. “If the current ruling coalition continues until the second half of July, Lilamani is likely to win the race.” He has strong backing from the prime minister, Chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, a large section of the ruling Maoist party and other parties too. The Madhesi Morcha is likely to up the ante against Lilamani’s nomination. A key leader of the Morcha, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar had transferred Lilamani from the Home to the PMO last September due to some “policy conflict” with him and there has been no change in that position since then, sources said. Lilamani has experience of working in various ministries, including the PMO, Home Ministry and Ministry of Information and Communications. Hada, the only woman contender for the top post, is lobbying hard to be the first woman chief secretary.Sources said Hisila Yami, the prime minister’s wife, and some others are extending their support to Hada “because she comes from the Newar community and she is also a female.” Another contender is Shanker Koirala, who has experience of working in the energy and tourism ministries and the Election Commission. Koirala is known to have won the favour of Nepali Congress. “Given his long tenure at the Ministry of Finance, he will also garner the support of the donor community,” sources said. Another partner in the ruling coalition, the Madeshi Morcha, is extending support to Umakanta Jha. An engineer, Jha belongs to the Madhesi constituency and has experience of working in various ministries, including Water Resources, Physical Planning and Works, Irrigation and Industry. However, DPM Gachhadar is known to have a soft corner for Home Secretary Sushil Jung Bahadur Rana. Rana hails from Banke district, the constituency of NC President Sushil Koirala, and sources said Koirala is also ‘positive’ about Rana. A section of the NC, including Ram Chandra Poudel, is favouring Tana Gautam, who served for a long time in the Culture Ministry, the National Vigilance Centre and Urban Development Ministry. The CPN-UML is likely to support Balananda Poudel, who has experience of working in the Energy and General Administration ministries. Baman Neupane, who is working at the President’s Office, is likely to get support from a section of the NC and a leverage from the President himself, sources said. Nnnn MEN PROMISING WORK IN CYPRUS ABSCONDING Kathmandu, 29 June: Three persons, including Ramesh KC, have gone missing since Wednesday with Rs 10 million collected from 50 persons assuring them they will be sent to Cyprus for work, Sher Bahadur KC reports from Butwal. Ramesh KC collected Rs. 50,000 to Rs 400,000 from them. nnnn

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