KATHMANDU, Aug 31: Acting on recommendations by different political parties, the government is working to withdraw some 70 criminal cases involving around 300 individuals, on the ground that these are "political" in nature.
Multiple knowledgeable sources told Republica that the Office of the Attorney General has already approved a decision by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar to withdraw the criminal cases.
And the Ministry of Home Affairs is making internal preparations to forward the cases to the Ministry of Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs so that the later can register a proposal in the cabinet to withdraw them, the sources said.
"Majority of the cases are political in nature and relate to the conflict era," said a government source privy to developments on condition of anonymity,"But the others are purely criminal."
Republica´s efforts to check whether the cases are "political" or not have failed. This daily had filed an application early this week under the Right to Information Act, requesting details of the cases to be withdrawn, after it received tip-offs about the government´s preparations to drop the criminal cases.
Though this daily sought information about cases approved by the Office of the Attorney General for withdrawal, the ministry replied otherwise.
"This ministry has not recommended any case to the Ministry of Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs for withdrawal this fiscal year," said the information officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs in a reply to this daily.
However, a knowledgeable source said, "We cannot share information as per your request at present as the ministry is still working on recommending the cases to the law ministry for withdrawal."
Another source also said that the majority of cases being considered for withdrawal are from the conflict era, but the remaining ones are criminal in nature.
It may be recalled that the Baburam Bhattarai-led government had withdrawn criminal cases involving 349 individuals -- one of the largest case withdrawals -- back in March. Besides, the cabinet is also currently considering nearly a dozen cases for withdrawal.
Meanwhile, sources said that the ministry is being flooded with recommendations from political parties for case withdrawals.
"There are around 400 applications for case withdrawal," said another source at the ministry. "We are studying the applications seriously."
The ministry does not entertain applications for case withdrawal if the cases relate to corruption, citizenship, black-marketing, stealing of natural heritage, smuggling, leakage of revenue, cheating in foreign employment, rape, illegal drugs, espionage, arson, confidentiality of documents and cases pending at appellate courts.