NC Urges Investigation into Home Minister Regarding Cooperative Scam

NC Urges Investigation into Home Minister Regarding Cooperative Scam

NC and other Opposition Lawmakers Call for an Inquiry into the Home Minister’s Alleged Involvement in the Cooperative Fund Misuse Scandal.

Numerous lawmakers from the Nepali Congress and other opposition parties are pressing for an inquiry into the actions of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Rabi Lamichhane, regarding the alleged misappropriation of funds from a cooperative firm based in Pokhara.

During a session of the House of Representatives on Monday, Gagan Kumar Thapa, a Nepali Congress legislator and the party’s general secretary emphasized the necessity for Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to clarify whether the government intends to investigate the substantial mismanagement of cooperative funds and Lamichhane’s suspected involvement. Thapa stressed the importance of addressing the issue and the grievances of those affected by fraudulent activities within cooperatives.

Reports from various regions indicate that significant amounts of public funds have been unlawfully appropriated by cooperative owners and management bodies, with the perpetrators evading accountability. Last month, a complaint was filed at the District Police Office in Kaski against Lamichhane, alleging his involvement in the misappropriation of cooperative funds.

Lamichhane, a former television host and the managing director of a television channel co-founded by Gitendra Babu (GB) Rai, stands accused of siphoning off hundreds of millions of rupees in collaboration with Rai from several cooperatives in Kaski, Chitwan, and Butwal. Rai, the former chairman of the Gorkha Media Network, is alleged to have illicitly transferred funds from various cooperatives without providing any collateral.

In Pokhara, depositors of the Surya Darshan Cooperative, which was found to have misappropriated over Rs1.35 billion in public funds, have urged Prime Minister Dahal to investigate Rai and scrutinize Lamichhane’s involvement in the scandal. The Nepali Congress has raised concerns regarding a potential conflict of interest arising from Lamichhane’s position as home minister, particularly as the Nepal Police, which falls under the ministry’s purview, is investigating his alleged role in the misappropriation of cooperative funds during his tenure at the Gorkha Media Network.

Thapa emphasized the necessity for an impartial investigation into the mismanagement of cooperative funds and criticized the government’s handling of the issue. He called for accountability and transparency, urging the prime minister to provide assurances regarding the independence and fairness of the investigation.

Despite these demands, Ashok Kumar Chaudhary of the Rastriya Swatantra Party defended Lamichhane’s position as home minister, stating that he had earned the trust and confidence of the people through democratic processes. However, other lawmakers from the Nepali Congress, such as Dikpal Kumar Shahi and Pratima Gautam, expressed doubts about the possibility of a fair investigation given Lamichhane’s leadership of the home ministry.

Chitra Bahadur KC, chairman of the Rastriya Janamorcha, called for Lamichhane’s removal from office, arguing that his continued tenure as home minister could compromise the ongoing investigation into cooperative fraud, thereby denying justice to the victims.

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