Nalsing Gadh Hydropower Project

All six charged in corruption case get clean chit

December 7, 2017 05:00 AM Republica


KATHMANDU, Dec 7: The Special Court has given clean chit to Nalsing Gadh Development Committee's Executive Director Moti Bahadur Kunwar and five others over corruption charges.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed a case against Kunwar and five others, accusing them of committing irregularities while selecting consultants to prepare Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Nalsing Gadh Hydropower Project (410MW).

A joint bench of the court's Chairman Baburam Regmi, and members Chandi Raj Dhakal and Narayan Prasad Pokharel on Tuesday took the decision. 

Nalsing Gadh Development Committee's engineers Surya Prasad Rijal and Gokarna Raj Pantha, legal officer Rajesh Kumar Thapa and account officer Ananda Chapagain, and Udip Lal Shrestha -- a representative of SMEC International Pvt Ltd JV with MWH International.

Registrar of the Special Court, Bhim Prasad Shrestha, told Republica that the bench ruled that the charges made by the CIAA against the accused could not be established. 
The CIAA had charged them with inflicting loss of Rs 274 million on the project by favoring SMEC while evaluating bid documents. In its chargesheet, the constitutional anti-graft body had argued that the defendants had given more marks to the bidder quoting higher amount, while giving low marks to bidders that had quoted lower price. 

The reservoir type project is regarded one of the attractive hydropower projects as the number of families to be displaced is very low compared to other similar projects.
The committee had shortlisted two firms -- SMEC International Pvt Ltd JV with MWH International and AF Consult -- for the final round of selection. After losing the contract to SMEC International Pvt Ltd JV with MWH International, AF Consult had filed complaints at the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as well as the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. The PAC had held several rounds of discussions on the issue. 

The CIAA had chargesheeted Kunwar and five others in April.

Though the case was under subjudice at the Special Court, SMEC International Pvt Ltd JV with MWH International has been conducting the study. 

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