Nepal government derecognises Honorary Consul of Kyrgyzstan AgrawalPolice on Tuesday arrested Agrawal, the owner of Shanker Group, on charge of blackmarketeering thermal guns used to screen people for high fever by setting up shop in his ‘blue number plate’ vehicle.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has derecognised Honorary Consul of Kyrgyzstan Sulav Agrawal two days after he was found to have misused the vehicle of his office and national flag of the country he represented in Nepal.
The ministry has derecognised him as honorary consul and informed Kyrgyzstan through diplomatic channels about it, Chief of Protocol Gahendra Rajbhandari told the Post.
Police on Tuesday arrested Agrawal, the owner of Shanker Group, on charge of blackmarketeering thermal guns used to screen people for high fever by setting up shop in his ‘blue number plate’ vehicle.
Agrawal was arrested in Naxal for selling infrared thermometers, which cost around Rs 3,000-3,500 per unit, at Rs 15,000 each. Police had confiscated 67 thermal guns, which are in high demand because of the Covid-19 pandemic, from Agrawal.
Following the arrest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, withdrew certain facilities and privileges accorded to all honorary consuls based in Nepal.
Almost all honorary consuls in Nepal belong to a business house. There is a race among businessmen to land the position as it brings them social prestige and they can avail various privileges provided by the state to diplomats, officials say. The position is voluntary.
“In the context of the incident in which an Honorary Consul was found to have engaged in illegal activity misusing his position and privilege granted for his official function, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to withdraw certain facilities and privileges provided to the Honorary Consuls based in Nepal," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
As per the decision, honorary consuls in Nepal will no longer be allowed to use blue number plates on their vehicles and fly the flag of their respective country.
But they need not remove the national flag in their office, said Rajbhandari.
Officials said that they received complaints of misuse of vehicles by honorary consuls, but they did not have the evidence to take action.
“We gave maximum privileges to the honorary consuls,” said former Nepali ambassador Madhubhan Poudel. “Many countries, including India do not extend such facilities.”
Prior to 2007, all honorary consuls stationed in Kathmandu used private number plates in their vehicles. Later, they complained to the foreign ministry that they were facing difficulties discharging their duties and asked for special privileges.
One honorary consul told the Post on the condition of anonymity that the decision to strip the honorary consuls of 51 countries based in Kathmandu should not be a concern for those doing their job well. “ The incident has lowered our stature in the diplomatic and business community,” he added.
But there are those who believe that the decision will have an adverse impact on the work of honorary consuls working hard to promote bilateral ties, trade and tourism. “This kind of a blanket suspension will harm those who are doing well,” said Poudel. “It would have been better if only the accused was punished,” said Poudel.