The Special Court on Tuesday convicted three former lawmakers –Gayatri Sah, BP Yadav and Shiva Pujan Yadav– for misusing their diplomatic passports.
The court acquitted lawmaker Hari Charan Sah, also father of Gayatri, and former lawmaker Narad Muni Rana in the misuse of diplomatic passport scam.
A full bench of justices Pawan Kumar Sharma, Prabha Banset and Mahesh Pudasani issued the verdict to this effect. The court has slapped a fine of Rs 1500 together with four months imprisonment for corruption convict Shah and BP and Yadav.
According to court registrar, Bhadra Kali Pokharel the court has also convicted government officials Devi Datta Khatri, Ramesh Lamsal, Shyam Babu Bhandari and Bhuminnda Bhandari for assisting the lawmakers’ forgery. Another government official Khadananda Dhakal, who was also accused of involved in assisting lawmakers to misuse their passport was acquitted.
Nirmal Baniya, Kedar Nath Sharma and Prithi Chantyal, who were accused of bearing lawmakers’ diplomatic passport were also acquitted.
In may 2011, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed a case against lawmakers Gayatri Sah of Nepali Janata Dal and Bishwonath Prasad Yadav (Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal) and six immigration officers on the charge of misusing diplomatic passport s.
With the anti-graft body’s lawsuit at the Special Court, the lawmakers were automatically suspended as Constituent Assembly members as per provisions of anti-corruption laws. The Corruption Prevention Act-2002 states that those officers assuming public position shall be automatically suspended once a case is filed against them.
The immigration officers Chief Khadananda Dhakal, section officers Bhuminanda Bhandari and Shyam Bahadur Bhandari, computer officer Indra Kumar Sunuwar, senior immigration assistants Devi Datta Khatri and Shanta Raj Upretry were accused of being party to the diplomatic passport misuse. Gayatri’s father, Haricharan Sah, was also accused of involved in the scam.
In its charge sheet, CIAA had sought Rs 50,000 fine and five-year imprisonment for the accused lawmakers and two-year imprisonment and Rs. 50,000 fine on the other accused officers. TheCIAA said lawmakers and immigration officers received Rs 16.2 million for providing the passports to passport racketeers and later shared it.
The involvement of Sah and Yadav surfaced after the arrest of a Nepali national – Prithivi Chhantyal – and an unidentified Nepali woman at the Abu Dhabi Immigration in United Arab Emirates on Jan 16. They were subsequently deported to Nepal on Jan 18. The arrested persons, posing as Shah and Yadav, were trying to fly to Australia on an Etihad Airways flight.
Later, another MJF-N lawmaker Shiva Pujan Yadav was also charge sheeted at the court into forgery of diplomatic passport issued in his name.