KATHMANDU, Aug 15: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday convicted Nepali Congress (NC) leader and former minister Khum Bahadur Khadka of corruption and slapped a one-and-a-half-year jail sentence for him along with confiscation of the corrpution amount of Rs 9.47 million and a fine of the same amount.
The court had found that Khadka had acquired movable and immovable property valued at Rs 9.47 million from undisclosed sources following his stint as ministers with various portfolios from 1991 onward.
After finding that Khadka´s property did not match his legitimate sources of income, justices Kalyan Kumar Shrestha and Baidyanath Upadhyaya gave the verdict overturning a previous verdict of the Special Court, which had exonerated Khadka of the corruption charge in a case filed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).
People gather at Supreme Court. (Photo: Keshab Thoker)
The CIAA had filed the case against Khadka accusing him of accumulating property valued at Rs 23.6 million from undisclosed sources between 1991 and 2002 when he was minister of physical planning and works, transportation minister to local development minister.
The Supreme Court has also ordered the Kathmandu District Court, which will see to it that the verdict is implemented, to confiscate Rs 2.5 million deposited at Everest Bank Limited in the name of Khadka´s wife Shila Sharma Khadka.
Similarly, the court has ordered the Kathmandu District Court to seize the land pieces in Lalitpur Sub Metropolis Ward No. 2 worth Rs 2.9 million and Rs 2.5 million, respectively, registered in Shila´s name.
Likewise, the apex court has also ordered the Kathmandu District Court to seize Khadka´s Mitsubishi Pajero jeep valued at Rs 2.45 million, 33 tola of gold and 2.93 kg silver.
Four years after the CIAA´s appeal, a division bench of then SC Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha and Justice Sushila Karki on March 27, 2011 had ordered the accused to present himself before the court.
Hearing in the case had begun on October 24, 2011 following an order by a Supreme Court division bench comprising Kalyan Shrestha and Tarka Raj Bhatta on August 7, 2011 to send it the Khadka file.
The CIAA on March 29, 2007 had challenged the Special Court verdict at the Supreme Court.
Police stand guard. (Photo: Keshab Thoker)
A bench of the Special Court´s then chairman Bhupadhwaj Adhikari and members Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra Samasher JBR on November 15, 2006 had exonerated Khadka of the corruption charge.
The verdict had said it could not be justified that the property of Khadka did not match his legitimate sources of income as claimed by the CIAA.
This is the third case involving major politicians in which a Special Court verdict has been overturned by the Supreme Court.
Khadka acquired Rs 18.3 million between 1991 and 2002
Khadka´s supporters vandalize police van at Maitighar. (Photo: Salim Ali)
The Supreme Court has concluded that Khadka acquired Rs 18.3 million between 1991 and 2002 when he held different ministerial portfolios. The court said Khadka earned only Rs 8.83 million from legitimate sources while he acquired Rs 9.47 million from undisclosed sources.
The court said that Khadka´s following movable and immovable properties could not be attributed to legitimate sources.
Mitsubishi Pajero valued at Rs 2.45 million
33 tola gold and 2.93 kg silver valued at Rs 375,000
Lands worth Rs 2.9 million and Rs 2.5 million registered in the name of his wife Shila Sharma Khadka
Rs 2.5 million deposited at Everest Bank Limited in the name of his wife Shila Sharma Khadka
Rs 2 million
The court has ordered the Kathmandu District Court to confiscate all these illegal property and deposit it in the government funds.
The security had been beefed up at the apex court premises from the morning. Following the verdict, Khadka´s supporters had chanted slogan against the present government outside of the court premises.