CIAA to file fresh graft case against Sharma

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 26, 2018-

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority on Thursday decided to file another corruption case at the Special Court against Chudamani Sharma, the suspended director general of the Inland Revenue Department.

A meeting of the CIAA board on Thursday decided to file another case against Sharma of amassing property worth Rs45 million illegally, sources at the anti-graft body said. On July 16, 2017, the CIAA, in one of the largest ever corruption cases, charged Sharma and other two members of the Tax Settlement Commission (TSC)—Lumba Dhwoj Mahat and Umesh Dhakal—with embezzling revenues worth Rs10.02 billion each while exempting enterprises of taxes in dubious ways.

With the latest decision, Sharma will be one of the few public servants to face a subsequent corruption case. “Sharma and a few members of his family will be made defendants in the new case,” said a CIAA source. “The case may be filed in the next few days.” During interrogation, Sharma had clarified that most of his income came from the books he had written on civil service exams and the income from running preparation classes for government job hopefuls. But the CIAA found a huge mismatch between his claims and his potential income from these activities.

According to CIAA officials, Sharma did not cooperate with the probe. When he was summoned, he failed to present himself at the CIAA office initially. Then, on November 8, the anti-graft body delivered the notice to his house after his continued defiance.

Thereafter, Sharma reached the CIAA for interrogation. But after appearing for a few interrogations, he is said to have been ignoring the CIAA summons for a month.

“We have issued three summons within a month but he failed to attend for further interrogation,” said a CIAA source. “Then, we left the CIAA board to decide his case.”

The CIAA had initiated investigation into his property when former CIAA chief Lokman Singh Karki was removed from the anti-graft body after an impeachment motion was initiated against him. Sharma had allegedly close relationship with Karki.

Although investigation into his property was initiated in the final months of 2016, the CIAA first grilled him on his irregularities as a TSC member. The anti-graft body arrested him on June 2, 2017 when he was serving as the IRD director general, resulting in his suspension from the post. After a case was filed against Sharma and the other two TSC members, the CIAA sought to interrogate Sharma on his property.

Sharma may face another case on revenue embezzlement charges as a TSC member since the case registered earlier at the Special Court is based on 45 out of the 1,069 files of tax settlement, according to CIAA officials.

Sharma also faces charges of protecting betel nut smugglers, according to CIAA sources.

Published: 26-01-2018 07:48

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