National

Manange not to face money laundering trial and OAG is to blame

  • Attorney office fails to file petition at SC in time to appeal Special Court’s ruling to acquit Manange
  • Internal probe underway into ‘rare slip-up’
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Apr 23, 2018-

Notorious gangster Rajeev Gurung aka Deepak Manage will not face further trial on a money laundering charge in which he was acquitted by the Special Court, because the Office of Attorney General (OAG) failed to register an appeal petition at the Supreme Court (SC) within deadline.

Manange, who has been serving a jail term after being convicted by the Supreme Court (SC) on charge of attempted murder 13 years ago, had got a clean chit from the Special Court on the money laundering case on August 20, 2017.

The Department of Money Laundering Investigation had filed the case against Manange at the Special Court on May 19, 2013, for possessing properties of questionable origins worth Rs140.7 million.

Following the Special Court’s ruling the OAG had 50 days to appeal the case at the apex court.

The OAG had tried to register appeal petition at the SC 10 days past the deadline, which the latter declined to entertain, said Sanjeev Raj Regmi, the OAG spokesperson.

“When we reached the SC to register the appeal on January 24, the court officials refused to register the petition because the deadline had expired on January 14,” Regmi said. “It was the first ever case where the OAG had failed to register an appeal petition in time. An internal inquiry is underway to find out what had led to this rare slip-up.”

Legal experts suspect that Manange used his political connection to delay the registration of appeal petition. 

“One can hardly believe that the OAG, which has employed many legal experts, missed the deadline on such an important case, unless there was a deliberate attempt to do so,” said Gauri Bahadur Karki, former Special Court chairman.

Manange had won the provincial assembly elections from Manang (B) as independent candidate with the strong backing of the ruling CPN- UML.

He was disqualified to assume the seat of the lawmaker after the SC in January upheld Patan Appellate Court’s verdict of sentencing him to five years in prison in an attempted murder conviction. Manange was found guilty of perpetrating an organised attack on his rival Milan Gurung aka Chakre Milan in the Capital 13 years ago.

Manange’s rival Chakre Milan and another gangster Parshuram Basnet also have close ties with the UML. And like Manange, they have also been acquitted by the Special Court on money laundering charges. 

Murari Prasad Poudel, joint attorney general at the Special Government Attorney Office, said his office was yet to get the full decision of the Special Court regarding the cases of Chakre Milan and Basnet to decide whether to recommend the OAG to file appeal petitions at the SC. 

Two other gangsters, Ganesh Lama and Abhisek Giri, are also facing money laundering charges, but the Special Court has yet to hand down its ruling.

The Department of Money Laundering Department had filed money laundering cases against Manange, Chakre Milan, Basnet, Lama and Giri on the same date in 2013.

Published: 23-04-2018 08:22

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