CPN-UML refuses to take action against Top Bahadur RayamajhiPolice on Tuesday raided the home of Rayamajhi, who is dodging the authorities.
Tika R Pradhan
The main opposition CPN-UML has refused to take action against its Secretary Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, who has been absconding after the court issued a warrant against him to aid police investigation into the Bhutanese refugee scam.
The party has instead instructed Rayamajhi to fight a legal battle.
“Currently, it’s only an accusation against Top Bahadur-ji, he has not been proven guilty,” said UML deputy general secretary Prithvi Subba Gurung, following the party’s Secretariat meeting held at Chyasal on Tuesday. “We thus don’t want to act in haste on this issue.”
According to Gurung, there is no need to suspend, expel or take any other action against Rayamajhi unless his connection to the fake Bhutanese refugee racket is established. The racket forged documents for the purpose of sending hundreds of Nepali citizens to the United States in the guise of Bhutanese refugees residing in Nepal.
UML chair KP Sharma Oli has frequently met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to express concern over the arrest order against his party secretary, according to sources close to the prime minister.
Oli has also been publicly saying that the investigation should be fair and not biassed against UML leaders.
However, the secretariat meeting decided to instruct its secretary Rayamajhi to help the police close the investigation into the affair. Police raided Rayamajhi’s home on Tuesday after he fled following investigations on the Bhutanese Refugee scam.
“As a party who believes in the rule of law… today’s meeting decided to instruct Rayamajhi to follow legal proceedings,” said Surendra Pandey, a vice-chair of the party. “We cannot nab him and hand over [to the police] as it is his personal matter and that is the responsibility of the government.”
According to those attending the meeting, some UML leaders had asked the party leadership to take action against Rayamajhi as he was accused of a serious crime but the party top brass was in favour of letting the legal process take its natural course.
When the police arrest Rayamajhi, he will be suspended as a lawmaker and will not be eligible to take part in parliamentary proceedings.
“We will accept the outcome of the legal process,” said Subas Chandra Nembang, another vice-chair and UML deputy parliamentary leader. “The party has already instructed him to fight a legal battle.”
Nembang said there was nothing more his party could do in this case.
“Nobody can be termed guilty unless a competent court establishes his or her guilt,” Nembang told the Post.
However, some political analysts said the UML should have taken action against Rayamajhi after the police investigation found his involvement in the fake Bhutanese refugee scam. His disappearance, they stay, only strengthens the case against him.
“It’s about establishing the right political culture. The UML should have taken action against its leaders accused of such serious crimes,” said Hari Roka, a political commentator. “The UML lost a great opportunity to improve its public image.”
As Rayamajhi disappeared instead of turning himself in to police, Roka said it was incumbent on the party to take action against him, even on moral grounds.
“We can assume that Rayamajhi could have threatened the top party leaders that if he was to go down, he would take them along with him,” Roka said. “So far, nothing Rayamajhi has done that suggests he is innocent after the police launched the case against him.”
The UML Secretariat meeting was focused on preparing the agenda for the upcoming central committee meeting. First scheduled to be held in Jhapa, the meeting will now be held at the party headquarters in Chyasal, Lalitpur from Thursday until Saturday.