Jha spared in Nepal Engineering College corruption case for cooperating in probeWhen Raj Narayan Pathak, a former commissioner at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, took bribe from a group of people in relation to the Nepal Engineering College ownership case, Gyanendra Kumar Jha played a key role.
When Raj Narayan Pathak, a former commissioner at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, took bribe from a group of people in relation to the Nepal Engineering College ownership case, Gyanendra Kumar Jha played a key role.
Investigation showed that Jha worked as a middleman, who used to give money to Pathak on behalf of Lambodar Neupane and the others who wanted the case to be turned to their favour.
But while filing a case against Pathak and Neupane on Tuesday, the anti-graft body did not name Jha as a defendant.
The CIAA has sought a prison term of 11 years for Pathak. It has also recommended confiscation of the Rs7.8 million that he accepted as bribe and a fine equivalent to the same amount under the Corruption Prevention Act.
For Neupane, the CIAA has sought eight years imprisonment and a fine equivalent to the bribe that he had offered to Pathak.
The anti-graft body, according to the officials, decided not to charge Jha after he pledged to assist in the investigation.
According to the Section 55 of the Corruption Prevention Act, the investigating authority may give complete or partial remission in the claim of punishment to the accused who assist in the process of investigation carried out under the Act and presents themselves as witnesses.
“A case can be filed against an individual if his or her assistance cannot be independently verified, or in case the individual records a statement with the court official contradictory to what he or she had recorded with the investigating official notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in other prevailing laws,” it states.
Along with Jha, the CIAA also decided not to pursue any case against Dhwojman Moktan. Jha and Moktan had recorded the video that shows Pathak admitting to receiving bribe from Neupane.
“If they backtrack on their statements, the anti-graft body can file a case against them,” a CIAA official told the Post.
The official, who requested for anonymity, said Jha and Moktan were let off because they could serve as witnesses before court.
At least six people were investigated in connection to the corruption case in which Neupane had bribed Pathak to settle a complaint registered at the CIAA against an attempt to privatise Nepal Engineering College based in Changunarayan, Bhaktapur.
Neupane is one of the directors of the college which was registered as a public entity. According to the CIAA, Pathak’s younger brother Subha Narayan, who was accused of receiving an additional Rs1.5 million from Jha, was found not involved in the Rs7.8 million graft case.
Another suspect, Krishna Bhakta Neupane, was also cleared by the investigation. Jha, who is also a leader of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, said he was relieved that he was not named a defendant in the case.
A politician convicted in a corruption case cannot contest elections and hold public post.
Jha added that he had agreed to become a government witness and will cooperate during court proceedings.
Meanwhile, the accused former CIAA commissioner, Neupane, is out of contact and believed to be hiding somewhere in India.