Capital

Apex court notice to CIAA chief delivered

  • Hearing set to start after a month
- DEWAN RAI, Kathmandu

Oct 19, 2016-

The curtain has finally fallen on the first act of a high drama involving the Supreme Court (SC) and Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority chief Lokman Singh Karki, with apex court officials managing to serve a summons, after two failed attempts, amid protests and obstructions.

SC Joint Spokesman Bishwaraj Poudel confirmed that the court has received the documents about the delivery of summons at Karki’s house. “A team led by our staffer Mahesh Dhakal has reported that the summons was delivered to Karki’s house on Monday,” Poudel told the Post on Tuesday. “The court team, however, informed about it only on Tuesday morning.”

The SC team, in the presence of ward secretary Sarita Rai and two other witnesses, delivered the summons at Karki’s residence in Naya Baneshwor-10 of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City on Monday evening, almost a month after the notice was issued.

As per the rule, Karki is required to present himself before the court within 15 days from Monday. He, however, can ask for additional 15 days. “The court proceedings will not wait for him after one month from the date of delivery of the notice,” said Poudel.

The SC’s two previous attempts to deliver summons to Karki on October 5 and 6 had failed. In the first stance, ward secretary was not available and in the second instance, court staffer Shambhu Bahadur Khatri, who was tasked with dispatching the notice, had suddenly “gone out of contact”.

Since Karki is currently out of the country, the notice had to be pasted at his residence.

Karki had left for Canada on September 19 and is yet to return.

The apex court had issued the summons in response to a petition filed by Advocate Om Prakash Aryal, who has claimed that Karki’s appointment was unlawful as his tenure in government service “falls short of what has been provisioned in the constitution and he does not hold high moral character to lead the anti-graft body” as enshrined in the constitution.

Karki, who was appointed under-secretary at the then palace secretariat in 1984 through royal edict, joined civil service in 1990 after the reinstatement of democracy. If Karki’s earlier six years of service at the then palace secretariat is excluded, he does not meet the required criteria for holding the position.

Besides, Karki was found guilty of suppressing the democracy movement in 2006 when he chief secretary.

The Girija Prasad Koirala-led government, formed after the success of the 2006 movement, had also decided to sack him from the position of chief secretary and disqualify him from holding any public position in future “for using state apparatus against the pro-democratic protesters”

He also faced allegations that he was involved in various scandals, including a gold smuggling case, when he was working as the director general at Tribhuvan International Airport.

His appointment as CIAA chief was highly debated.

The High Level Political Mechanism, a body of top political leaders of all parties led by Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, had in March 2013 recommended his for the post of CIAA chief.

Then Khil Raj Regmi-led government, which was also installed as per a political agreement, had appointed Karki as CIAA chief in May 2013 at the recommendation of the Constitutional Council.

Since Parliament had been dissolved at that time, his appointment did not go through parliamentary vetting. Karki’s appointment issue has emerged as one of the high-profile cases in the country of late.

“An attempt from the vigilantes to take law unto their hands is condemnable,” said Aryal, who has pursued the case for more than three years. “But the delivery of summons to Karki has rekindled hope of restoration of rule of law,” he added.

The second act of the drama is just about to start.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, a single bench of Justice Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada sought written clarifications from court staffer Khatri, war secretary Rai and ward clerk Bheshraj Aryal for failing to execute the tasks ordered by the court.

 

Published: 19-10-2016 08:26

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