It has been revealed that Chief Justice (CJ) Gopal Parajuli has continuously threatened senior advocate Surendra Bhandari and threatened to even kill him after he refused to settle the case against Dr Govinda KC on CJ’s urging.
Bhandari is the main lawyer of Dr KC who has been slapped a contempt of court case by the Supreme Court (SC).
Dr KC had started a fast-unto-death demanding resignation of CJ Parajuli after a bench including CJ Parajuli ordered reinstatement of Dr Shashi Sharma as dean of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) under the Tribhuvan University (TU) for four days until the latter’s retirement.
The SC had ordered arrest of Dr KC stating that the comments by him tantamount to contempt of court. Dr KC had accused CJ Parajuli of being corrupt and part of mafia and demanded his resignation.
CJ Parajuli had called Bhandari to his chamber at around 10 am on January 10 when Bhandari reached the SC along with Dr KC for pleadings, according to Bhandari. “I have not tried to pick a fight with him. Do convince Dr KC. This case will be revoked if he concedes that he spoke in anger,” Bhandari told Setopati quoting CJ Parajuli.
Bhandari had tried to convince CJ Parajuli instead that day. “Dr KC has not said that in anger. He has spoken after deliberating. He can provide evidence for that. We advocates will plead on his behalf,” Bhandari recalled telling to Parajuli.
Bhandari said he had advised three things to Parajuli if he did not want to stretch the issue further. Bhandari had asked Parajuli to revoke the case as it was him who had started the fight, initiate investigation of the accusations against him, and it would not be appropriate to send fasting Dr KC to prison.
Bhandari pleaded on Dr KC’s behalf on that very day before the joint bench of Justices Om Prakash Mishra and Bam Bahadur Shrestha. Defending all the accusations made against Parajuli by Dr KC, he argued that he is corrupt and involved in crime and mafia.
Bhandari claimed that Parajuli again phoned him asking him to meet the latter after he finished pleading at around 3 pm that day. “So, you all have waged a war against me, right? I did not want this to get here. Do settle the issue at any cost,” Bhandari quoted Parajuli as saying immediately after he entered the CJ’s chamber.
Bhandari again said he can do nothing and reminded that CJ Parajuli had committed a mistake by getting Dr KC arrested. “I informed him that Dr KC will not step back. I told him that he will lose the case as he has committed a grave mistake by getting Dr KC arrested. I repeated what I had told him in the morning,” Bhandari reminisced.
All the lawyers finished their pleadings around five hours later. The justices entered their chamber to write the order. The cell phone of Bhandari rang at the time but he missed that in the hustle. He called back a little while later on seeing a missed call from CJ Parajuli. Parajuli threatened to kill him during that conversation.
“I had replied on seeing the missed call. He said ‘you have not done the right thing. I will kill you, you know.’ He said he will not spare me,” Bhandari recalled the sequence of conversation. “I tried to convince him. I told him ‘don’t get angry honorable CJ.’ I told him we should sit together and sort things out. But he disconnected the phone call,” Bhandari added.
The bench of Justices Mishra and Shrestha a few minutes later decided to seek citizenship certificates and educational certificates of CJ Parajuli, and ordered release of Dr KC on date.
There was no communication in the intervening period until Bhandari published an article on Nagarik daily last Thursday. CJ Parajuli again called Bhandari after that. “I was with my colleagues at my law firm. CJ again called me and threatened me,” Bhandari claimed.
“So you have been granted senior advocate to oppose me, right? You are opposing me? You will be hunted for digging evils of others. I will not spare you, you know,” Bhandari quoted Parajuli as saying.
Bhandari had become senior advocate after Parajuli became CJ. The SC had granted the title of senior advocate to over 200 advocates this year. There is a practice of granting senior advocate through a meeting of all the SC justices.
Bhandari again advised Parajuli to not be angry but he cut the phone.
There was another incident at the law firm of Bhandari in Shankhamul on Tuesday. Two tall men came to the firm at around 2 pm and asked, “Is Surendra Bhandari here?”
The office staffers answered ‘No.’
“My friends then asked him who they were. They said ‘we will let him know who we are. We will see to that,’ and left,” Bhandari said. “Those men came at a time when the CJ has threatened to kill me and made other threats. I don’t know what would have happened were I present in the firm yesterday. I have, therefore, applied for security today itself,” he reasoned.
Bhandari filed a complaint at the Kathmandu District Administration Office Wednesday morning demanding security claiming that CJ Parajuli has threatened to kill him.
Setopati tried to talk to CJ Parajuli about the issue. “Who is this?” he asked when we called him on his mobile phone. He acknowledged when told that the call is from Setopati but disconnected the phone.