KATHMANDU, Jan 14: Amid the arrest of Nepal Army (NA) Colonel Kumar Lama in the United Kingdom for his alleged involvement in human rights violations during the conflict, Attorney General Mukti Pradhan has postponed his scheduled trip to the US.
Sources said Pradhan cancelled his visit at the eleventh hour fearing his possible arrest in the US after his instructions to halt investigations into the murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa, who was killed by Maoist cadres some eight years ago.
“He (Pradhan) informed me that we would head for the US on January 22 instead of today (Sunday). He said it was not appropriate to leave the country at a time when there is a political and constitutional crisis,” said a member of the delegation.
Pradhan was scheduled to fly for the USA at 11 pm on Sunday along with his personal aide Santosh Giri, Deputy Attorney General Prem Raj Karki and Assistant District Attorney of Kathmandu Padam Bahadur KC.
Other members of the delegation have expressed deep dissatisfaction over the postponement of the visit as they had made all preparations for the trip.
“All the other delegation members are upset,” said a knowledgeable source at the Office of the Attorney General, adding, “The attorney general could have sent others.” Though Pradhan has scheduled the visit for January 22, it is not clear if the University of New Haven would reorganize the program for us, said the source.
Sources said the US university had invited the Nepali delegates, including the attorney general, for a nine-day program on strengthening criminal justice system in Nepal.
Despite repeated attempts, Pradhan was not available for comments. The visit was confirmed some three weeks ago, while Pradhan including other members had already received visa from the US embassy.
Pradhan is being criticized for his instructions in writing to the Dailekh District Attorney’s Office and District Police Office not to proceed with recording statements of the five accused of Thapa’s murder.
NA Colonel Lama was arrested in the UK 11 days ago for his alleged involvement in torturing detainees in Nepal during the Maoist insurgency.