Amassing Property: CIAA subjects Sharma to another probeThe Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has initiated a detailed investigation into the property of Chudamani Sharma, the suspended director general of the Inland Revenue Department who faces the biggest ever corruption case filed in the Special Court by the anti-graft body.
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority has initiated a detailed investigation into the property of Chudamani Sharma, the suspended director general of the Inland Revenue Department who faces the biggest ever corruption case filed in the Special Court by the anti-graft body.
The CIAA probes an official in detail, as authorised by the Corruption Prevention Act-2002, if an initial investigation suggests mismatch between their property and sources of income. The corruption watchdog designates an officer to conduct further probe.
“We have been carrying out a detailed investigation into Sharma’s property for one-and-a-half months by appointing an investigation officer,” a source at the CIAA confirmed.
According to Clause 20 of the Act, if a public servant is found to have acquired property illegally, s/he is liable to imprisonment not exceeding two years and a fine depending on the amount of the illegal income. The unlawfully acquired property is also confiscated.
The CIAA launched an ‘initial investigation’ into Sharma’s property last year by asking him to submit a 13-page property report.
The move followed the suspension of former chief commissioner of the CIAA Lokman Singh Karki due to an impeachment motion in Parliament in October 2016. Sharma and a dozen other officials were ordered to submit their property details in November.
Sharma supposedly had close links with Karki, who was removed from office after being disqualified by the Supreme Court in January this year.
Investigators have the authority to arrest the offender and to search any office, house, building or other places for inquiry and evidences.
Sharma has already been arrested. The anti-graft body caught him on June 2 in a case of tax exemption from the Tax Settlement Commission (TSC). Sharma is one of the three members of the TSC, charged with exempting enterprises taxes in a dubious way. Responding to a habeas corpus writ petitioned by Sharma’s wife, the Supreme Court on Sunday ordered the Special Court to submit all the documents related to the case against the TSC.
The CIAA on July 16 filed a Rs10.02 billion embezzlement case against the three TSC members at the Special Court.
Sharma is said to have a controversial past. As the Sunsari chief district officer, he gave a clean chit to Shiv Prasad Ghimire, the owner of Sugam Gas Company, which was accused of tampering with LPG cylinders.
In August 2014, the anti-graft body caught Shambu Prasad Chalise, a section officer at the Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI), taking bribe from a migrant worker.
Chalise, in his statement to the CIAA, had said he worked at the behest of Sharma, the then director general of the DMLI. But no charges were filed against him. He was transferred to the IRD later.