KATHMANDU, April 25: Supreme Court has acquitted former Executive Chairman of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) Sugat Ratna Kansakar and five other NAC officials of any wrong doing in the Airbus deal.
The corporation officials now say they will revive the three-year old Airbus procurement deal shelved after it landed into controversy.
Issuing the verdict on the case that the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse and Authority (CIAA) filed against top NAC officials, the Apex Court on Tuesday upheld the decision of the Special Court to scrap the charges.
The verdict was issued by the bench comprising Justices Gauri Bahadur Karki and Om Prakash Mishra. It gave a clean chit to the officials charged of sending lock up money of $ 75,000 allegedly in breach of Public Procurement Act (PPA), said Raju KC NAC Spokesperson.
"Now as there remains no question of irregularity, we will instantly move on to revive the deal,” KC told Republica.
CIAA had charged Kansakar along with KC, Ganesh Thakur, Gyanendra Purush Dhakal, Mayur Shumser Rana and Keshav Raj Sharma of engaging in irregularities after it assessed NAC´s move to send lock up money to Airbus (for procuring two aircraft) did not comply with the PPA.
Following the charge, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus sent back the ´non-refundable´ lock up money to NAC in March, 2011.
The NAC board in October, 2009 had decided to purchase two aircrafts - one narrow and one wide body - to expand its international fleet. Airbus, in its proposal had quoted $ 41.28 and $ 92.84 million respectively for narrow and wide body aircraft.
NAC had moved the deal forward with the consent of Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA). The Ministry had prepared to revive the deal even after Kansakar faced the CIAA´s charge, mainly after French Embassy in December 2011 sent a letter to MoTCA stating that the deal could still be executed at the same price quoted by Airbus in 2009.
But MoTCA suspended its initiatives after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) instructed it to terminate the deal in February 2012.
Officials said MoTCA has not yet terminated the deal and MoU that NAC signed with Airbus is still valid. "The procurement deal can still go ahead and the aircraft can be purchased within four to five months if there are no problems," said a senior MoTCA official.