Himal has obtained a recorded phone conversation that proves how rife bribery is in Nepal's Supreme Court. And it goes right to the top: the tape implicates the Chief Justice himself in payoffs so that plaintiffs can get favourable decisions. The recorded conversations also show how blatant corruption is in the country's apex court.
The conversations are between a 'Baburam' who, until recently, was employed in the Supreme Court, while 'Rajesh' is a defendant who recently lost a property dispute in the Patan Appellate Court and took the case to the Supreme Court. The gist of the conversations implicate Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudyal in irregular appointment of judges to look at cases and not through a secret draw as is standard. Rajesh Shakya admits he bribed officials in the Supreme Court, but says he lost many cases despite this. He has hours of phone recordings with various members of the justice system, and says he was asked for bribes every step of the way, including a hefty Rs 300,000 demand at the Supreme Court itself. Shakya didn't have the money, his case was dismissed, and says: "I admit having paid bribes, and I regret it. I am willing to bear any punishment."
Excerpts from the tape:
Rajesh: Hello, sir.
Baburam: Hello, it's now fixed for the 17th, right? The old man has also agreed to fix it for the 17th.we'll do what we have to do on the 17th. Come to me on the morning of the 17th. We'll do whatever we have to do there.
Rajesh: OK, sir.
Baburam: But in case your turn comes before that, and I have to arrange a few things in the first hour, how much shall I say?
Rajesh: I didn't quite get you, sir.
Baburam: You know, if your turn comes what do
Rajesh: How much would you say, you tell me.
Baburam: This is about eight annas [of land] You must have a figure in mind.
Rajesh: How much, sir? Shall we put it at three?
Baburam: Ok, that sounds about right. OK.who's your lawyer?
Rajesh: Basantaram Bhandari.
Baburam: Tell him to argue the case well. I'll lay everything out clearly, call me at 10.30.
Rajesh: OK, sir.
Rajesh: What shall I do, sir? Is this it?
Baburam: This is what we will do now, Rajeshji. I can't keep letting you down.in your next case we will first decide whether it will go through or not.we will confirm it, then it will be easier to catch the judge by the neck if he doesn't deliver. Unless you pay them, put cash in their hands, they will try to wriggle out of it.they won't be serious.
Rajesh: Right, that way we have them in our hands.
Baburam: From now on, let's not talk on the phone. We have to meet at home, and whoever [judge] is trying the case we put some money there right away. That way he won't have any excuses if the judgement goes wrong.