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Suspicious action

Monday, April 25th, 2016
Kanak sir blog

Pic: Kunda Dixit

Editorial in Kantipur, 25 April

The arrest by the Commission on the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on Friday of Sajha Yatayat Chair and Himalmedia publisher Kanak Mani Dixit has raised questions about the anti-corruption watchdog’s jurisdiction. The point is not whether the Commission can or cannot investigate or detain Dixit, the more important concerns are about the kind of accusations against him and the manner in which he was detained. The CIAA has not furnished satisfactory explanations about them, putting its entire action into controversy and doubt.

To be sure, the CIAA is mandated by the constitution and the laws of the land to investigate public officials. We journalists, publishers or personalities that society regards as prominent should not expect to be treated differently than other citizens. But the CIAA also cannot overstep its mandate.

The CIAA claims Dixit has been booked for ‘amassing disproportionate wealth’ not as Publisher of Himalmedia but as Chair of Sajha Yatayat. The CIAA is allowed to investigate Dixit’s dealings with Sajha, but not his personal assets that predate his appointment in the transportation cooperative, and they fall beyond the CIAA’s terms of reference. If there is even a bit of truth in these allegations, then it is for the Department of Money Laundering or other branches of government to investigate.

Dixit is well known for his long-standing involvement in journalism, publishing, running NGOs and civil society activism. He was at the forefront of protests against the appointment of Lok Man Singh Karki to head the CIAA two years ago because of his role as Chief Secretary in the royal government. But to seek revenge against a citizen for using his constitutionally-guaranteed right of free expression smacks of dictatorship.

It is also not clear why the CIAA felt it necessary to put Dixit behind bars in order to investigate him. Did Karki take this decision on his own, or was this a collective one by the CIAA? What is the opinion of the other commissioners on this?

It is by now a well known fact that the CIAA chief Karki has a habit of going after people who point fingers at him. Whether it is political leaders or legislators critical of him or others, he has been summoning more and more of them for interrogation at the CIAA. The Commission should only publicise the complaints about someone after it has gathered enough evidence to take them to a court of law. But what the CIAA has done here is to incorporate details of an ordinary complaint in its public notice, the sole intention of which can only be character assassination. Also, there are suspicions about the CIAA’s true intentions from the way it has not kept Dixit in CIAA custody, as is the usual practice, but to lock him up with other prisoners at the Gaushala Police Post.

The Special Court on Sunday has remanded Dixit in custody for ten days pending investigations. And Dixit has also said he will contest the accusations against him in the courts. But if the courts cannot prove that the charges against him are true, who will compensate him? Is the CIAA free to destroy a person’s character? Surely not. If it is proven that the investigations against him are driven by a sense of revenge this will not just raise questions about the CIAA’s working methods, but also undermine its reputation.

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9 Responses to “Suspicious action”

  1. Radha krishna Deo on Says:

    Way and approach of CIAA is not justified ,it seems to defame Mr. Dixit. If a constutional body make such mistake , this is misfortune for Nation !!!

  2. Anonimous on Says:

    Who is next?

  3. Peter on Says:

    It would seem that Mr. Lok Man Singh Karki, Commissioner/Chief of the Commission on the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) himself should be investigated for ABUSE OF AUTHORITY.

  4. Basnet on Says:

    So many supporting articles by nepalitimes for an accused corrupt person. Very few articles were written by this media house when so many people were killed by pahade government suppression in Madhesh.

  5. Hurray on Says:

    Mr. Dixit is being held for corruption and amassing of illegal wealth and not for free speech. If this is true, he, like any other corrupt needs to be behind bars.

    Can’t one be a well known journalist and a corrupt at the same time?

  6. namah on Says:

    @basnet: wrong. you need to go back and look at archives.
    @hurray: I agree KMD might be hiding money abroad, but is that under CIAA?

  7. Bal Tamang on Says:

    If the reason is to be the disproportionate to one’s known or reported source of income, all those holding high offices needs to be booked. It is known to all that Mr. Karki, the Chief of CIAA, has most dubious career before being appointed to his current job by even more dubious and corrupt politicians. Therefore, it is a journalist’s duty to protest at his appointment. Interestingly, our media and public officials have been selective in their actions. That is where lies the crux of the problem.
    When the country is reeling under one of the biggest disasters of our times which is the 2015 earthquake and further worsened by the economic blockade, why are we so obsessed with one or two incidents that bring no changes in the operations of the government or the CIAA for that matter.
    We all know our government is totally incompetent and our scrupulous media more or less toe the government line, barring a few like Mr. Dixit. I am surprised that the donor community having so much power is silent on the relief and reconstruction after the earthquake.
    What is a billion dollar sitting somewhere going to do when the lives of the earthquake victims have further shattered right under the nose of all those yielding power and authority.
    There are so many murderers are running around under the protection of the political leaders and no justice to the victims. I don’t know if Mr. Dixit deserves such harsh treatment from CIAA and it is clear that CIAA’s selective action is more of an individual revenge. I have truly appreciated Mr. Dixit’s articles that appeared in many print media in India and worldwide which were among the very few written by a Nepali journaist that was fair and balance. I am sure his articles also alerted fair minded Indians on the injustice done to Nepal by imposing the blockade.
    In my view, Mr. Dixit is innocent until proven guilty. Leave him alone and just go through the due process of law.
    Not surprisingly though, I have not seen anything in our media highlighting the changes and improvements Mr. Dixit may have brought painstakingly in the Sajha Yatayat.

  8. Hurray on Says:

    @namah: I know personally how corrupt and thuggish Mr. Karki and his CIAA right-hand Mr.Basnet were during their time in nepalese customs. One would think that the fact that CIAA is led by these men would wipe away any credibility this institution has. But without wanting to play devil’s advocate and giving some benefit of doubt to CIAA, if the arrest of Mr.Dixit was carried out in due manner, I don’t see why one should not want to find out court’s verdict to draw a conclusion on Mr.Dixit’s innocence before crying out for this release.

  9. Sangam Pakhrin on Says:

    While Baburam as coaccomplice of Prachanda in the killing of 12,000 Nepali during the janayuddha is trying to cleanse himself of the sins by opening up a new party, we still have Lokman Karki who not only jumped the line in the bureaucracy during the king’s rule and got himself appointed as the CIAA chief with the grace of Prachanda. Not only Prachanda and Baburam should not be allowed to visit western countries till they give us the account of the killings, Lokman Karki should also be labelled as personna non grata. He is actually a chief abuser.

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