It seems the efforts to remove the Executive Chairman of Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation for his alleged involvement in over three dozen shady deals during his three months there has come to an end. Hari Bhakta Shrestha, sensing that he could be fired, has begun calling board meetings at night and making decisions that could affect the corporation in the long run.
One such decision was last week\'s appointment of Pankaj Rana as the General Sales Agent (GSA) in Japan. The rights and responsibilities of a GSA is fixed by the Corporation. But because RNAC does not have a system to monitor what goes on, GSAs sometimes charge double fare and get away with it. That is why millions of rupees change hand on such appointments.
I hat was one reason why RNAC had decided three months ago to do away with GSAs altogether. Shrestha went against that decision by appointing Rana. Shrestha is said to have made Rs 25 million from the deal and is now rumoured to be running around power centres offering Rs 20 million to keep his job.
Shrestha was sent to RNAC to improve its management but at the moment he is concerned only about consolidating his own position. He has been visiting the prime minister, his advisers and his daughter. If Shrestha succeeds in persuading them to accept his money, his position will be strengthened.
A source at RNAC said that Rana had misused 600 RNAC tickets when he himself worked as an RNAC GSA in the past. The Corporation has been able to recover Rs 50 million from him so far, but he has yet to settle the accounts for another 400 tickets which would amount to Rs 100 million.