Calls grow at Maoist central committee meeting to book its corrupt leadersParty’s downfall was inevitable due to the disconnect between its ideology and actions, says Lekhnath Neupane.
On the second day of the central committee meeting CPN (Maoist Centre) on Thursday, speakers said the government led by their party chief will not spare anyone, even Maoist leaders, if they are found involved in corruption including gold smuggling.
Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who is also the senior vice-chair of the party, referring to the ongoing investigations into the latest gold scam, told party leaders at the meeting that even Maoist leaders will have to face action as per the law if they were found guilty of corruption.
“We are investigating to ensure that innocents don’t suffer and culprits don’t escape justice. In such a case, whoever–even our party leaders should be prepared to face action if they are found guilty,” a central leader quoted Shrestha as saying at the meeting on Thursday.
Shrestha’s statement comes at a time when several photos and videos surfaced on social media showing suspected gold smugglers posing alongside senior Maoist leaders including party vice-chair Krishna Bahadur Mahara and his son, Deputy General Secretary Barshaman Pun and former Vice-President Nanda Kishor Pun.
Maoist Centre spokesman and former Speaker Mahara, who got clean chit from the court in 2021 in a rape case, and his son are alleged to have discussed with a Chinese gold smuggling suspect several times about nine kilo of gold that was smuggled into Nepal in several lots by hiding the metal inside electronic cigarettes some time ago. The Maharas have been refuting the allegations, while there are calls from various quarters for an independent investigation into the recent gold smuggling cases.
A senior Maoist Centre leader told the Post that the ongoing investigations into gold smuggling might dissipate as it is suspected that many top leaders of major parties were directly or indirectly involved in smuggling several tons of gold in the past.
“Everyone knows that government staffers would not dare to pass quintals of smuggled gold through customs or engage in big corruption without political backing. It has been clear that our leaders were hands-in-glove with the smugglers,” said the senior Maoist Centre leader, asking not to be named fearing retribution. “Today some leaders raised the issue at the central committee meeting.”
The main opposition party, the CPN-UML, has been obstructing both Houses of the federal parliament demanding an independent high-level investigation into gold smuggling cases. The party accuses the government of trying to protect corrupt leaders of the ruling parties, especially the Maoist Centre.
At Thursday’s meeting, leaders including Durga BK demanded that the government should not spare anyone including Maoist leaders if they are found involved in corruption.
“A number of party leaders urged the government to take bold steps in the ongoing corruption cases including gold smuggling,” said Ramdip Acharya, a central committee member. “The government should probe corruption without bias.”
Unlike at other major meetings of the Maoist party, at Wednesday’s meeting, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal presented his political report titled ‘Present Situation and the major responsibilities of the Party’ but did not provide the copy to leaders. As many as 56 leaders including Shrestha and Mahara presented their views on Dahal’s document on Wednesday.
Just like on Wednesday, many leaders speaking on Thursday also vehemently criticised the party leadership, especially Chairman Dahal, for ‘failing to rectify’ the party. Some leaders even criticised Dahal for focusing only on his family members.
Leaders including Tek Bahadur Basnet accused the leadership of fostering disorder in the party and violating party rules. Basnet held the top leadership responsible for all the mess within the party.
Some leaders including Dipendra Pun said the Maoist Centre has lost its grip on the grassroots.
Youth leader Lekhnath Neupane said the downfall of the Maoist Centre was inevitable due to the disconnect between its ideology and actions. “The ongoing downfall of the Maoist will not stop until it hits rock bottom. Neither there is any ideological way out to stop the downfall, nor any practical attempt,” a central member quoted Neupane as saying at the meeting on Thursday.
More than 700 leaders are participating in the gathering of the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre) who are discussing ways to strengthen the party.