By PR Pradhan
The release of an audio recording of Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gokul Banskota and his resignation following the tape episode has exposed the intention of the communist leaders! We are well aware that except a few, all the leaders in the Nepali Congress are involved in corruption. Similarly, the leaders in the tarai based parties too are not clean. We had hoped that the communists in the country, who fought to end feudalism and establishing socialism in the society, were for making Nepal. Unfortunately, they too are not exceptional than the NC leaders.
Listening to the audio tape, we have reached to the conclusion that corruption and commission practices have jumped to above nine digits in number. We can clearly listen that the minister was found dealing for commission worth 700 million rupees while purchasing a security printing press from Switzerland.
We have been informed that the tape episode was made public by the local agent of the Swiss company after the government signed a MoU to purchase a security printing press from a French company. During the then minister Banskota’s visit to France, MoUs were signed on the purchase of a security printing press and a satellite equipment from France on G-to-G level. In fact, the then minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and commission agent Aang Chhering Sherpa of the Yeti Group were scheduled to meet Banskota in France for the deal.
The same evening, both of them were scheduled to fly to France by Qatar Air aircraft from Kathmandu. The same morning both of them, along with five others boarded a helicopter to inspect the construction of an airport at PM Oli’s birthplace in Aathrai, Terathum. After inspection of the airport, the helicopter flew for Pathibhara Devi Temple in Taplejung in spite of bad weather. As both of them were in a hurry to return to Kathmandu to catch the Qatar flight, it is assumed that Sherpa, who was the owner of the aircraft, could have put pressure to the pilot to fly the helicopter even during the bad weather. This could be the reason behind accident of the ill-fated helicopter, killing all five members boarded in the helicopter, it is assumed.
The plan was to sign two agreements related to purchase of the security printing press and a satellite set. Banskota, thus, alone signed the agreement on the purchase deal.
We know, Sherpa, owner of the Yeti Group, a business empire, was close to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. Oli is found rewarding Yeti Group time and again. Even PM Oli had assigned a daughter of Sonam, elder brother of Aang Chhiring to an ambassadorial post.
How King Birendra’s valuable private properties under the Nepal Trust were given on lease to the Yeti Group almost at free of cost, we all are aware!
So far, PM Oli is always saying that he would maintain zero tolerance on corruption, in practice, he is found protecting those corrupt people always.
We have been informed that Banskota was one among the most admired leader of PM Oli. Just three days ago, he had praised Banskota by saying that no leader can be compared with Banskota. He had said that Kavre was the district giving such a capable leader to the nation!
According to a report, PM Oli was not in a mood to ask Banskota to tender his resignation. When the party’s other chairman Pushpakamal Dahal asked Oli to terminate Banskota, Oli had said for not running behind rumours. Again, Oli had said that he would hold discussion with Banskota on the issue. However, when the NC MPs disturbed the National Assembly meeting and later Federal Parliament session, then only Oli had phoned to speaker Agni Sapkota saying that Banskota would tender his resignation, therefore, they should not disturb the House session.
Banskota was the minister who was staying in Oli’s private residence in Balkot, Bhaktapur. One journalist friend belonging to the Nepal Communist Party had informed to this scribe that Banskota was so close to Oli that he was looking after all the business investments of Oli. He had also described that as Oli had huge investment in the Yeti Group, he was rewarding the Group time and again even by misusing his authority and by violating the existing laws.
Already, fed-up from the corrupt leaders, Nepali voters had thought that the communists, who fought for a change in the society would lead the nation towards prosperity, therefore, they voted for the communist parties by giving them virtually a two thirds majority. Unfortunately, now, the voters are feeling that they are being deceived from the communists as well! Nepali voters have started to say that in Nepal, a government with nearly two-thirds majority too cannot function. We already saw two years of the government. Except from ministers’ partnership with cunning businessmen, we could not see any further progress in the government performance! The country’s five billion worth investment is at high risk as the construction contractors have failed to complete the projects they have. Forget about the construction projects outside, look at the condition of the roads approaching Kathmandu Valley! Except from Kathmandu-Dhulikhel road, all the roads are in a very poor state as construction contractors are not working there. Instead of punishing the construction contractors, the leaders are giving them protection.
Accordingly, the sugar mills have not cleared the dues of sugarcane farmers for years, yet the government is unable to take action against the sugar mill owners.
We had thought that any deal at government to government level could be more transparent and fast as well. Listening to the audio tape, Banskota was found saying to the other side to increase one billion rupees for more commission amount! This is an example of rampant loot on the nation’s coffer!
Nepal Communist Party chairman Pshpakamal Dahal is found expressing worry from the wrong practices developing among the party leaders in power, however, he is also not a clean person! Can he give clarification that he was not involved in misusing the government allotted compensation amount for the Maoist PLAs? Baburam Bhattarai is publicly alleging Dahal for misusing billions of rupees of the compensation amount!
The absolute majority introduced anarchism and autocracy in the name of socialism as well. The slogan the leaders are giving is prosperous Nepal and happy Nepali but in practice, prosperity and happiness have been limited within the group of leaders who are enjoying power!
In the name of government to government level procurement too, we could witness huge amounts of commission deals! The government is found encouraging implementation of projects through the cabinet decision to escape the CIAA investigation. Again the government is found curtailing CIAA authority even by amending the CIAA laws by introducing a provision that even the cabinet decisions of the province governments would not be the subject of investigation of CIAA! The intention of the ruling party is clear from this!
The commoners have become fed-up from the tax on every step and increased tax amount at multiplying level. On the other hand, those ruling groups are enjoying the cream of the political system. We can assume, in this way, we are not making our country prosperous and Nepalis happy!