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From the Kathmandu Press: Friday, January 11, 2019

Ajeya Raj Sumargi

Newspapers published from Kathmandu have highlighted reports related to the Supreme Courts order to banks to re-deposit the money released to Ajeya Raj Sumarigi’s account. Most papers have also highlighted reports related to bilateral talks between Nepali and Indian foreign ministers.

Here’s a summary of the important, interesting and ignored stories from Friday’s newspapers:

Important

SC orders Sumargi money to be re-deposited

File: Chief Justice nominee Cholendra Shamsher Rana at a meeting of the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee, on January 1, 2019.

Nagarik, Kantipur, The Himalayan Times and Republica report the Supreme Court has directed Nepal Rastra Bank and Nepal Investment Bank Limited to re-deposit the money ($7.5m) released from the bank account of Muktishree Private Limited, owned by businessman Ajeya Raj Sumargi. The decision was passed by a division bench of Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana and Justice Ananda Mohan Bhattarai. Both senior members repealed the short-term stay order issued on December 25 by justice Deepak Raj Joshee. The legality of the money is in question. The apex court also stressed that the case needs to be investigated for possible money laundering as the money in question seems to be suspicious. They also argue that Sumargi hadn’t obtained permission from the concerned government agency to bring foreign currency investment into Nepal.

Gyawali and Swaraj review bilateral projects

L-R: Foreign Affairs Ministers of Nepal and India, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and Sushma Swaraj, in New Delhi, on Thursday, January 10, 2019. Photo: MEA India/Twitter

Kantipur, Nepal Samacharpatra and Rajdhani report that Nepali Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali held a meeting with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Thursday. The two leaders exchanged views on various aspects of Nepal-India relations while reviewing the progress of ongoing bilateral cooperation projects. The two ministers recalled the exchange of high-level visits in recent times and appreciated that these visits had contributed to enhancing the age-old bilateral relations on the basis of equality, mutual trust, respect, and mutual benefits. The two also talked about the inundation in Nepal’s southern plains and agreed that the recommendations prepared by a joint team that studied the floods should be implemented swiftly. Gyawali has invited Swaraj to come to Nepal and co-chair the next meeting of Nepal-India Joint Commission.

Wide-body aircraft deal

NAC’s second wide-body aircraft getting a cannon salute at Tribhuvan International Airport.

The Himalayan Times reports that the government is planning to trash the parliamentary Public Account Committee’s report on irregularities in the purchase of the wide-body aircraft. Communication Minister Gokul Baskota says the government will take necessary actions only after it receives a report from the High-Level judicial Probe Commission, indicating that the House panel’s report would be trashed. The High-Level commission led by former Chief Justice Govindra Prasad Prajuli has been given 45 days to submit its report. The government is also ruling out immediate action against the officials indicted by the PAC sub-committee.

Similarly, The Kathmandu Post reports that sub-committee of the PAC failed to take notice of some crucial facts of the case. The PAC, in its report, had asked current and two former tourism ministers to take ‘moral responsibility’ for failing to take necessary caution while releasing the funds for buying the planes. However, Jitendra Narayan Dev, whom it mentions in the report was not the tourism minister when the decision to send the first installment of $79 million was made. It was then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba who was looking after the aviation portfolio.

Ignored

Teaching hospital residents on strike

The Kathmandu Post reports that around 200 resident doctors of Teaching Hospital in Maharajgunj began an indefinite strike on Thursday demanding payment of salary due for the past eight months. They have halted all services, except for emergency and picketed the hospital. National Resident Doctors Association has urged Maharajgunj Medical Council (MMC), Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Ministry of Health and Population to address their issues. The number of resident doctors at the hospital is four times that of non-resident doctors. A meeting was held between association representatives, MMC and IOM officials but the assurance did not satisfy the protesting doctors. The strike will continue on Friday.

 Nirmala’s father beats up his ex-wife

Parents of Nirmala Pant in Kathmandu, on Wednesday, September 13, 2018.

Nepal Samacharpatra reports that Yagyaraj Panta, the father of Nirmala Panta has beaten up his ex-wife Durga Devi, the mother of Nirmala Pant, who was raped and murdered few months ago. According to the report, Durga Yagyaraj was infuriated after Durga submitted her own blood sample for DNA tests, without his consent. Durga Devi says Yagyaraj could have murdered her had she not escaped.

 Interesting

 NOC slashes aviation fuel prices 

File image: A Buddha Air aircraft

The Kathmandu Post reports that flying on domestic airlines will be a bit cheaper from Sunday as Nepal Oil Corporation has slashed fuel surcharge following a drop in the price of aviation fuel. The price tag of an average air ticket could drop from Rs 80 to Rs 400 depending on the distance. The new tariff will be implemented from Sunday. NOC, on Thursday, reduced the price of aviation fuel sold to domestic airlines to by Rs 10 per litre to Rs 94.5 per litre. The average ticket to for the country longest route to Dhangadi is around Rs 13,000 whereas the cost to fly the shorter route to Simara is around Rs 3,300.

 Richest 10 per cent Nepalis 26 times wealthier than poorest 4 per cent

Republica reports that a study conducted by a consortium of development organisations has revealed that the richest 10 per cent of the population has more than 26 times as much wealth as the poorest 40 per cent. The report prepared by Oxfam and South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication states that the inequalities in wealth and income are widening. The report also predicts that the gap between the rich and the poor will widen if timely intervention is not taken to reform existing policies. The report blames highly unequal distribution of land as a major driver of the stunning level of inequality.


Published on January 11th, Friday, 2019 11:13 AM


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