Government witness faces graft case for changing statementThe incident should discourage other witnesses from lying to the court to protect defendants, officials say.
In a rare case, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority on Monday filed a case against its own witness for changing his statement before the Special Court in a corruption lawsuit.
Devjung Shahi, who had become a witness for prosecution after offering bribe to Lalu Giri, immediate chief divisional engineer of the erstwhile District Technical Office, Bhojpur, had changed his statement at the court.
“Shahi’s court statement was completely different to the statement he had given to us despite being a witness in favour of the CIAA. So, we had to file a corruption case against him as per the law,” CIAA Spokesperson Pradeep Koirala told the Post. “This case could discourage such government witnesses from changing their statements in the future.”
In order to establish a case against prime accused, the anti-graft body sometimes gives certain individuals an exemption from penalty for cooperating in the investigation process and becoming witness on prosecution’s behalf.
Shahi, who was an agent for MK/YP JV, a contractor for improving Bhojpur-Taksar-Kot-Gogane-Lekharka Road, had filed a case against Giri at the CIAA, stating that the latter was demanding Rs1.85 million in return for providing advance payment.
According to Koirala, the CIAA had set up a sting operation to arrest Giri.
The anti-graft agency filed a case against Giri on March 7. Further investigation showed that the contractor had received mobilisation advance against fake bank guarantee of the contractors. Based on the findings, the CIAA again filed another case against seven people, including Giri, on April 8.
Koirala said Shahi was cooperative throughout the investigation process and was made the witness in the case.
The CIAA officials said the case against Shahi might serve as an example to witnesses such as Gyanendra Kumar Jha, who has become a witness in the case of former CIAA commissioner Raj Narayan Pathak, to not go against their original statements.
The anti-graft body didn’t make Jha defendant in the corruption case filed against Pathak despite his apparent involvement in bribing him.
Corruption cases have been filed against witnesses in the past as well, but officials say such instances are very rare.
“We occasionally encounter such cases where government witnesses change their statements before the court. But, such cases are very few,” a CIAA official told the Post.