Lamichhane defends himself in Parliament, alleges corruption among Congress leaders

Kathmandu, May 20

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane, who has been demanding an opportunity to answer the allegations against him in the House of Representatives for two months, finally got a chance to speak on Sunday. Addressing the House for about 40 minutes, he questioned those who had accused him more than he addressed the questions raised against him.

On March 4, after the power dynamics shifted with the Congress and Maoist Centre, the Chairperson of the Rastriya Swatantra Party, Lamichhane, became the Home Minister on March 6.

Following his appointment, the Congress obstructed Parliament, demanding the formation of a parliamentary inquiry committee, alleging Lamichhane’s involvement in the misappropriation of cooperative funds. Since March 15, the Congress had been preventing Lamichhane from addressing the House of Representatives.

After the Congress agreed on Sunday, Lamichhane spoke in Parliament, claiming that state agencies had neither investigated nor prosecuted him. “There is no case in court regarding the cooperative. I have repeatedly said there is no defendant. I have not been hurt by anyone’s statement,” said Home Minister Lamichhane.

He claimed he was neither the owner nor a cooperative member. After the accusations were made against him, he wrote a letter to the Office of the Attorney General of Nepal to clarify the matter and received a response stating that there was no case or accusation against him.

He argued that there should not be a parliamentary investigation against him based solely on media reports.

Proposal from Deuba for PM

Standing at the rostrum of Parliament on Sunday, Home Minister Lamichhane stated that Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba had offered him the position of Prime Minister for one and a half years.

Lamichhane pointed at Deuba and asked, “Yesterday, has the offer to accept me as Prime Minister for one and a half years expired, or is there still time left? Then I will let you test my morals.”

Lamichhane claimed that after rejecting the Prime Minister’s proposal made by Deuba, the Congress started obstructing Parliament. “After rejecting the Prime Minister’s offer that night, the house was suspended the next day. Then came the demand for a parliamentary committee. Which page of the ethics of politics does it fall on?” he asked.

Charges against Gagan Thapa

Home Minister Lamichhane accused Congress General Secretary Gagan Thapa of embezzling funds and misusing agricultural subsidies when he was the president of Tri-Chandra Campus.

“Let’s send away those who embezzle agricultural subsidies and those who raise chickens, fish, and goats. Not only those who carry two or three citizenships but also those who carry only one citizenship and passport and sell the country’s secret information to foreigners should be removed from Parliament. No matter how powerful they are, whether they are a minister or a general secretary of a party,” Lamichhane said.

Congress General Secretary Thapa responded that he had evidence showing Lamichhane himself had taken a loan by applying. In response, Lamichhane challenged him to provide proof.

“…I haven’t got the evidence. Don’t worry. You don’t have to leave politics. Because we have long believed this country needs a leader like you,” said Lamichhane, “I am also ready for investigation if others are also investigated.”

Home Minister Lamichhane said he was ready to form an inquiry committee on issues raised in the media targeting Congress leaders.

He insisted there should be an investigation into news about the construction of a park at Tri-Chandra College, the development of a university website, the misuse of red passports, the purchase of wide-body aircraft, the fake Bhutanese refugees case, and the land of Tikapur market in Kailali.

Targeting Gagan Thapa, he said that when Thapa was the health minister, the issue of money transactions during transfers was also reported in the news.

“When Thapa was the Health Minister, there were many claims in the news that someone took Rs 14 crore and made Professor Rajkumar Rauniar the Vice-Chancellor of the BP Health Science Academy and that money was handed over for securing a position. Let the House decide whether to investigate such issues; let’s start with me.”

Raising the topic of the wide-body aircraft purchase case, Lamichhane said, “When the payment was made in the wide-body aircraft scam case in 2020, the post of tourism minister was vacant. There was news that he was involved in a scam worth billions.”

He also mentioned the audio of some leaders in the fake Bhutanese refugee case being released.

During his speech, Lamichhane also raised the issue of news published in 2019 about Rastriya Janamorcha’s President Chitra Bahadur KC.

Lamichhane said that Nepali Congress MP Tek Bahadur Gurung was found guilty of corruption by renting the land of Fun Park located at Bhrikutimandap cheaply.

“The characters buried in the scandal are probably here somewhere. While digging, all the corruption from bribery on campus to hospitals will be revealed. But I just wanted to be clear about whether we are going to create a system where everyone is investigated and blamed out of envy or jealousy, or not,” Lamichhane said.

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