Dhaka Kumar Shrestha officially loses lower House membershipRastriya Swatantra Party had on April 13 expelled Shrestha after a leaked audio suggested he demanded bribes from a businessman.
Nearly two weeks after the Rastriya Swatantra Party’s decision to expel its lawmaker Dhaka Kumar Shrestha from the party and as a lawmaker, he lost his position as a member of the House of Representatives.
Speaker Dev Raj Ghimire, on Tuesday, stripped Shrestha as a member of the lower house, based on his former party’s recommendation. “The position of member of the House of Representatives Dhaka Kumar Shrestha has become vacant,” announced Ghimire in the lower house, saying the decision was taken as per the Rastriya Swatantra Party’s decision to scrap his membership of the party and its recommendation to strip him of his membership of the House.
The fourth-largest party in parliament had on April 13 expelled Shrestha from the party over a leaked audio in which a voice, allegedly Shrestha’s, demands Rs20 million from another person, the controversial media entrepreneur Durga Prasai, so that Shrestha can become health minister in the federal government. Prasai is owner of the Birtamod-based B & C Medical College and Teaching Hospital.
Shrestha has been claiming that he never contacted Prasai and the voice in the leaked audio tape is doctored. After scrapping his ordinary membership, the party also decided to replace him with Bindabasini Kansakar as lawmaker.
The decision for his replacement wasn’t implemented due to the indecision of the Speaker. Tuesday's move to strip Shrestha as a lawmaker has nonetheless opened a door for Kansakar to become the new member of the lower house. Based on the House’s decision, the Election Commission will replace Shrestha with Kansakar.
Shrestha was elected to the lower house last year from the indigenous nationalities category under the proportional representation system.
Within six months of its establishment, the party emerged as the fourth-largest in the House from the major polls held in November last year. But within months, two of its lawmakers have already lost their parliamentary positions.
Earlier on January 28 the Supreme Court had stripped party chair Lamichhane of his lawmaker status stating that the citizenship certificate he produced to contest the election in November, was invalid. Now, Shrestha has lost his parliamentary seat on bribery charges. The party immediately nominated a member to replace Shrestha as he was elected under the proportional representation category, but the Election Commission is holding bypolls in Lamichhane’s seat because he had won an election directly from a constituency in Chitwan-2.
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority has been investigating the matter. A complaint was lodged to the constitutional anti-graft watchdog, demanding an investigation into an alleged attempt by the Shrestha to ‘buy’ for himself the post of health minister.
Talking to the media after the party’s decision, Lamichhane claimed that the party will fully coordinate in the inquest to be conducted by the country’s corruption watchdog.
Shrestha had been running a hospital in Pokhara, although he only had a licence to operate a medical store. He used to operate the Sathi Kisan Krishi Cooperative Limited, which has refused to return the money of its depositors, for months. Shrestha had left the organisation last year, handing over the leadership to Shani Pathak. But the new leadership of the cooperative could not start working as the old leadership had failed to maintain proper account books.