Minutes of Karki’s appointment safeThe minutes of the Constitutional Council that recommended Lokman Singh Karki as the chief commissioner of the Commission for Investigation for Abuse of Authority are archived in the President’s Office
The minutes of the Constitutional Council that recommended Lokman Singh Karki as the chief commissioner of the Commission for Investigation for Abuse of Authority are archived in the President’s Office, the Prime Minister’s Office and other related government entities such as the Ministry of General Administration, informed officials said.
With the PMO’s response to the Supreme Court that the file related to Karki’s appointment was lost in the earthquake last year, the government’s archiving system has come under scrutiny. A case concerning Karki’s controversial appointment is pending in the apex court, which had sought the related papers.
“Such an important document is impossible to be misplaced as it is circulated among several entities,” said a senior bureaucrat who was privy to Karki’s appointment.
“Before appointment to any constitutional post, all the necessary documents including a copy of the minutes of the council are sent to the President. The PMO’s response to the Supreme Court is meaningless,” said the official. After the quake, the PMO was shifted from its old building to a newly constructed space for the Ministry of Local Development.
The Constitutional Council does not prepare the file, said a senior bureaucrat privy to Karki’s appointment. “The council only prepares the minutes undersigned by its chair and members.”
Papers related to the CIAA chief’s appointment are available on computers at the PMO and the President’s Office. A manual record is also maintained.
The documents saved in the PMO computer are not signed; only those saved in the PMO’s archiving chamber, the President’s Office and the General Administration Ministry bear official signatures.
Ahead of appointment by the head of state, the CC sends the details of the appointee, his or her bio-data and the explanation why s/he is eligible for the post to the President’s Office.
No single document was lost, said the top former bureaucrat having direct oversight over the PMO shifting process. Some of the documents are still in the old damaged building.
A senior PMO official hinted at preparations being made to submit all the papers related to Karki’s appointment to the court soon. The official said that the SC’s search for the dossiers had confused them.
“We are going to send the archived paper about Karki’s appointment to the court soon,” said the official. “It’s not a file, it’s the minutes.”
Seven justices can’t hear case
Chief Justice Sushila Karki and Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha cannot preside over the hearing of CIAA chief Lokman Singh Karki’s case as the Judicial Administration Act bars further hearing by the justices who have permitted a review of the case.
A full bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Karki on Friday decided to review the chief commissioner’s appointment.
Advocate Om Prakash Aryal had moved the apex court for review after his petition for deciding Karki’s appointment as unconstitutional was quashed by a division bench of Justices Gopal Parajuli and Om Prakash Mishra on September 24, 2014.
For that reason, Justices Parajuli and Mishra can also not carry forward the hearing. According to Senior Advocate Shambhu Thapa, Justices Hari Krishna Karki and Prakash Man Singh Raut are disqualified for conducting the CIAA chief’s hearing too since they had pleaded on his behalf earlier as advocates.
Hearing the cases by the seven justices may lead to a conflict of interest. Now only 13 of the 20 justices can handle the case. The chief justice and the apex court registrar appoint benches for cases on a daily basis.
Bid to defame Maoists unacceptable, says Pun
Tika R Pradhan
The CPN (Maoist Centre) said on Sunday that it was ready to face regular investigation by any constitutional body but would not accept an act meant to defame its leaders.
Barshaman Pun, a senior Maoist leader and former commander of the People’s Liberation Army, said “everyone knows the intention of the anti-graft body, which seems to create pressure among the top political leaders”.
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority said during a hastily organised press conference on Friday evening that it had decided to expedite a probe into the complaints of corruption in former Maoist cantonments.
Former finance minister Pun, a close aide to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, said that all the financial activities in the camps were accomplished by civil servants.
“It seems that CIAA Chair Lokman Singh Karki wants to influence top political leaders when he is sure to be indicted,” said Pun.
He said that Karki cannot continue with his regular duty as his case is under review in the Supreme Court. Under pressure, Karki might have acted to move party leaders for his support by using the issue of combatants’ fund as a bargaining chip.
Energy Minister Janardan Sharma had said that his party would discuss the issue after the PM’s arrival from India on Sunday but his hectic schedule has deferred the meeting till 3pm on Monday.
PM’s Principal Political Adviser Chakrapani Khanal ‘Baldev’, who is a former PLA commander, said the CIAA move was intended to tarnish the image of the Maoist and other leaders.