My name dragged in procurement of wide-body planes on basis of speculations: Minister Adhikari

Photo: Nisha Bhandari/setopati


Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has claimed he was not involved in procurement of two wide-body planes by the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and the subcommittee under the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament has accused him of irregularities based on mere speculations.
Holding a press conference at the ministry premises Monday morning, he pointed that he merely released payment of two installments in the procurement process. Starting the press conference listing the works he has done after assuming office, he then moved on to the details of the procurement process.
“The Rs 9 billion given by the government would have come under risk had I stopped the installments. Who would be responsible for that?” he asked. “There were no grounds for me to stop the installments even in accordance to the Supreme Court’s order.”
He accused the subcommittee of dragging him into the irregularities based not on facts but speculations, and claimed that the subcommittee has investigated in a different manner than how the parliamentary committee under him used to investigate in the past.
The subcommittee’s report made public on Wednesday concluded that Minister Adhikari was complicit in corruption of Rs 4.3556 billion during the procurement process. The subcommittee headed by NC lawmaker Rajan KC also found moral responsibility of Adhikari’s predecessors Jitendra Narayan Dev and Jeevan Bahadur Shahi in the case.
The government has already called the report erroneous and formed a probe commission to investigate the procurement process.
The Cabinet meeting Thursday formed a high level probe commission under former justice Govinda Prasad Parajuli, and including former deputy attorney general Nanda Prasad Pathak and chartered accountant Madan Sharma giving it 45 days to submit its report.
The PAC, meanwhile, has handed over the report to secretariat for amendment after the majority of lawmakers from ruling CPN during the meeting at Singha Durbar on Friday demanded amendment.

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