For the optimistic, and without seeking to jeopardise the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty', this could be a landmark week for Nepali law and order. And by some happy coincidence, the accused represent a former member of the legislature and the executive, a member of the judiciary, and a member of the former de facto executive.
Ex-minister Govinda Raj Joshi of the Nepali Congress may have thought he had beat the rap when in 2006, the Special Court quashed the charges of embezzling close to Rs 40 million laid against him by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority. The Supreme Court has just ruled that the Special Court erred in absolving Joshi, who will now once more face charges of corruption.
Supreme Court justices have had a torrid time of late. The recently nominated Girish Chandra Lal was lambasted for having used his discretion to limit jail sentences for two rhino poachers to five years. Now it's Justice Rana Bahadur Bam's turn to be accused of improper conduct for having released repeat offenders Ė later involved in Bhaktaman Shrestha's abduction Ė on very low bail instead of sending them into custody.
If Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha has his way, Joshi will end up behind bars, and Bam will lose his place in the Supreme Court. Bold moves, indeed, and ones that will set groundbreaking precedents.
But it is perhaps the third case, that of former crown prince Paras Shah, that constitutes the boldest move of all. Paras Shah's arrest for allegedly firing an illegal pistol following an altercation with Bangladeshi national (and Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala's son-in-law) Rubel Chaudhary is hugely significant. It represents the first time the Nepali state has attempted to hold a Nepali royal to account for his actions. Granted, he will most likely pay a fine at most, and then promptly leave the country under a cloud. But it also demonstrates how far some former royals are removed from the Nepali public and norms of civilised behaviour, and how much slimmer their chances are of being resurrected, even as a ceremonial institution. This, despite the best efforts of former king Gyanendra and Paras' wife, Himani.
Ironically, Shah has received support from the Maoists, who are accusing the government of 'politicising' the issue, and suggest that India might have orchestrated the whole affair. However murky the backgrounds of both protagonists in the incident are, both Shah and Chaudhary initially told the media that the former fired a pistol, though not at the latter, but in the air. This is indisputable. Even if Chaudhary had provoked Shah, which seems unlikely given the erstwhile prince's long-standing reputation for violence, there is no justification whatsoever for the use of firearms. To defend such an action is extremely poor judgment on the part of the Maoists.
The only other people to be protesting the arrest of Shah are of course diehard royalists and RPP-N cadres, whose leader Kamal Thapa met with Maoist Chairman Dahal a few months ago to discuss how to form a 'nationalist alliance'. This is clearly what has prompted the Maoist response, but it only reinforces the fear of the other political parties that the royalists and Maoists share little more than an opportunistic nationalism and a love of authoritarianism. The government, for its part, has already distinguished itself by taking Shah into custody, and should allow due process to be followed rather than give in to political pressure and street protests.
We all know the Maoists have plenty of reasons to criticise Nepali Congress and UML. This doesn't mean they can't agree with them on anything. At the end of the day, we're all on the same flight. When someone starts shooting, you're better off worrying about holes in the fuselage, not who's shooting their mouth off.
Wow.¬† What a sorry editorial.¬† Everyone got exposed and yet, Kunda decided to side with Sujata and protect her son-in-law.¬† He also fakely erected the so-called Maoist effigy in this scandal. Total diversion tactic to protect Sujata. This is the state of Nepali media.¬† Utterly disappointed.¬†
17 DEC 2010 | 10:14 AM NST
2. who cares
i never expected koiralas to cooperate with the authority.
my hope was possession and firing of¬†illegal¬†weapon. now they are saying, there was never a gun and firing is out of the question.
what kind of law do we have in nepal?
does law consider only koirala as the sole witness? what about guards, staffs of the resort and other guests?
bahuns running this country have done it again.
17 DEC 2010 | 10:18 AM NST
3. who cares
do not what the dead prince been telling to reporters, interview of the koirala be taken as proof?
and dont just blame them? two TV channels have openly been supporting, hiding the crime of the dead prince and there is one TV channel who supports the crime/terror of another group/party. there are a few thousand crowds supporting them.¬†
now koirals should be punished for humiliating, giving trouble to beloved prince of all nepalese!
17 DEC 2010 | 10:46 AM NST
4. who cares
one of the easy way for dead royals to return is join hands with maoist, eliminate NC, UMl then double cross maosit and return panchyat.
cause, then international community as well as domestic community will accept dead royals than maoist.
17 DEC 2010 | 11:15 AM NST
5. who cares
you are the one who is in a sorry state of mind.
who is trying to protect who.
when one commits crime, should be punished but you anti nationalist are trying to save him?¬†
a few years ago, i heard in some indian news channel callign some terrorists who killed hundred of indians nationalist, now its you low life.
and who is protecting koiralas? why dont you go and protest demanding investing of koiralas? many will be with you. dont be fool and mix crimes.
who am i talking to? its your slave mentality. nothing more.
only I as the king can save nepal.
or for short¬†period, president should take over since, all parties are controlled by criminals.
cant believe, its NC cadres, more than half, who voted for daughter of koirala.
due to last few years incidents, NC had stated to get some support, now due to daughter of koirala, they may loose some support. .. congrats to UML.
17 DEC 2010 | 12:03 PM NST
This is an editorial?
The NT must be seriously short of ideas and things to say.
17 DEC 2010 | 4:38 PM NST
Sujata abused power to make a big deal about her son-in-law's involvement with Paras.¬† Generally truthful ASS (on his column) now tells us that she also was involved in a PhD and VP title scandal with her son-in-law --with a front Development and Peace NGO.¬† Dr. Sujata Koirala?¬† When did she get the PhD and on what subject?¬† Is the son-in-law a PhD too? If so, on what subject?¬† Then what about the daughter?¬† Sushil Koirala shamelessly issued statement without thinking, and now he should issue an apology for jumping the gun for her crazy and corrupt niece.¬† Agaist all of this, this editorial is¬† nothing but a complete sham written to protect Sujata and the Koirala clan.¬† I completely missed the Maoists connection here.¬† I thought the big story was the Paras-Rubel drama and the abuse of power by Sujata Koirala.¬† This indeed is a sorry editorial... ¬†
17 DEC 2010 | 8:10 PM NST
I like the way the 3 cases (Joshi, Bam, & Shah) have been woven together and presented to the readers.¬†¬† As ever, the rule of Law in a direct collision path with rule of Politics.¬† 3 outcomes are possible:¬†
Rule of Law Rule of Politics or Rule of Split and Compromise and call it a day.
The least powerful (currently) will be shown the Rule of Law.¬† Let's see how much power they all have.¬† It will also be an indication how far the Country has move forward (or backward).
17 DEC 2010 | 10:06 PM NST
9. K. K. Sharma
How many in Nepal have fired guns, and even killed people.? Have all of them been censured by the press, and have all of them been punished under the law ? ¬†And how many are still free, even when convicted by the Supreme Court.?¬†Should not law apply to all, without exception.?
17 DEC 2010 | 12:35 AM NST
10. Binoy Yonzon
Nothing wrong with this editorial, in my opinion. ¬†If you do not like it, that's your right, but pray tell what you did not like about it.
It seems we are up for a fight between old monarchy versus new oligarchy. ¬†It is indeed good to see that the government actually has cojones to do its job and follow the due course. ¬†Time will tell if anything substantial comes out of this or, as much expected, the government with its tail between legs will let it pass after the dust settles.
17 DEC 2010 | 1:56 AM NST
11. Sarath G
Have you started outsourcing this space to teenagers? Or have you just fallen and knocked your head on something hard? Or are you trying hard to sound cool and balanced that you are starting to lose the whole plot?
¬†√Į¬Ņ¬ĹIt represents the first time the Nepali state has attempted to hold a Nepali royal to account for his actions.√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺ Really? If that shady Bangladeshi wasn√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺt related to that morally bankrupt minister, do you think we would have seen all that drama?
¬†√Į¬Ņ¬ĹThe only other people to be protesting the arrest of Shah are of course diehard royalists and RPP-N cadres√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺ... Excuse me? I don√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺt support monarchy in this day and age and I am not an RPP-N cadre. But I still protest Paras Shah√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺs arrest, as it was political move that went wrong.
¬†It is one thing trying to sound balanced, but not at the expense of common sense please.¬†
18 DEC 2010 | 6:21 AM NST
you, editor, must be a supporter of Koirala clan and their illegal and corrupted activities. Everyone must be punished if he/she violates the law. Government punished Paras, but why not sujata and that Bangaldeshi citizen? Why don't you have space to condemn their corruption and illegal activities. Their current activities are more dangerous for¬†Nepalese¬†democracy and prosperity than those of paras.¬†I am¬†a democrats and my family back home are active congress members; but I will neither vote nor encourage to support current form of Nepali Congress. I really hate communist, but at the same time, I am really disappointing by seeing illegal activities of ¬†congress leaders. communists have very good future in Nepal because of corrupted congress. Good luck to all communist folks!
18 DEC 2010 | 8:03 AM NST
13. who cares
this is amazing,
if NT or some one else expose or write truth about dead¬†royalist¬†then low life say, the person is koirala supporter or maoist supporter and when they write negative about maoist then the person becomes dead royalists or NC....... ....
and K K Sharma,
there are lots of rapes, killing, etc and etc. so do we let any powerful ones do it.
by the way, do you have a daughter or some female close to you.
And again,,, some media are saying this incident has made dead prince hero.
what is their source of info? how do they¬†analyse? do they know something i dont know?
cause all i saw in the news are a few thousands supporters in the street (less then 5k) all over nepal, a few hundred supporters in the cyber world and its truth that there are two hardcore supporters of crime by their master among TV channels.¬†
so how come this killer has become popular for the latest crime committed.
i used to think, dead royalists have 10% public support, but in CA election they only got 1%, in the last demonstration there were just a few thousand¬†supporters, and among active participants in NT(poll) among a few hundred, they have just above 40% supporters.
rather this incident could decrease dead royal supporters.
never the less, this incident is taking us to right direction.
18 DEC 2010 | 4:38 PM NST
14. who cares
media said, the dead prince is excited with the crowd (of few hundred) supporting him and he wants to repeat the similar patriotic act.¬†
so everybody, keep your women inside your house. or she will get motivation or some may get gratitude for being nationalist.
18 DEC 2010 | 4:52 PM NST
15. Thinley, France
At the end of the second world war, when the third reich fell apart, the ruling bodies from other nations who had supported¬†Hitler were for the most judged for their participation in the Folie of the second world war.¬†
He who has commited a crime is guilty no matter the change in the institutional structures.
¬†Paras may have commtied crimes during the monarchy; but he did so on Nepali soil. A Nepali soil which now belongs to it's people.¬†
To take but the french example, General Petain, highly decorated general of the first world war, Pro-hitler, was arrested, judged and sent to exile on an offshore Island of france. The governement had changed, the political situation had changed, but the crimes remianed the same and the judgment too.
Some may argue that the example is a bit to harsh a for the situation at hand. But in reality it is fit like none other.¬†
Paras ex-crown king criminal, is no longer Crown king but he is still a criminal. I grew up, like most with the stories of this Thug commiting crimes. Fear was in my mind and heart, like for all, in front of this Man who was then from an untouchable family.¬†
Judging him has not only become about the crimes he committed. It has become about Nepal moving away from it's filthy End of Monarchy era.
And as for those who still protect his interests, we must see them as the same as they were during monarchy. Their Stance and view hasn't changed. They are still convinced that this is but a bracket in the history of Nepal. It is up to us to how them that they are wrong.¬†
18 DEC 2010 | 5:46 PM NST
Media's cover-up can come in 2 ways.¬† 1) Not writing about it 2)¬† Creating a false culprit (or beating a dead horse) to protect a bigger culprit.¬† NT has engaged in both: 1) it does not even mention Rubel-Koirala circus in this affair 2) It brings the Maoists into the discussion as a villain. ¬† Govinda Raj Joshi's incident is irrelevant here because he has nothing to do with Paras-Rubel scandal and how Sujata Koirala used her authority to protect her son-in-law. Thus NT abdicated its journalistic responsibility to be fair and instead engaged in a cover-up to protect the Koirala clan.¬† Disappointing editorial...¬†
18 DEC 2010 | 8:03 PM NST
Good work, Nothing wrong with the editorial; it just shows the facts; somethings definitely wrong with the negative comments posted about the article though, I wonder why;¬†
18 DEC 2010 | 9:56 PM NST
18. who cares
answer to some of the questions from agents of terrors:
* one of the central member of maoist (i think the spokes person) and others may be, said that govt. trying to investigate the dead prince's terror is politically motivated.
is not this amazing,¬†opposition¬†is suppose to demand for the rule of law, but here they are trying to save the culprit.
* its local leader in chitwan who said that india was behind the shooting of¬†illegal¬†fire arm.
maoist and their previous master!
*is NT trying to save koiralas here? does not look like they are and i do not even see any motivation. this is a case where one person used¬†illegal¬†fire arms and thus focused on him.
its the two TV channels, even though they were saying that the dead prince should be punished if found guilty, but they were just trying to save him. as soon as it looked like as if he was not going to be found guilty, those channels have stopped pressing govt. to punish the koirals' for their crime. .... this is what we call¬†illy motivated actions.¬†
the dead prince is suppose to be jailed for at least three years. thanks to those slaves supporting him and the govt. what if he kills someone inside those three year. (i hope someone close to those who have been supporting his be the victim)
i demand all the murderers, rapist be released from the jail. cause they are nepalese and their were jailing was politically motivated and their actions were for protecting nationality.
EVERYONE,........... ROT IN HELL.
20 DEC 2010 | 3:42 PM NST
19. Daniel Gajaraj
It is nothing but " Coal calling the kettle black." ¬†Why so much hype from the media/? They are to be ignored, let the law of the land take its course. The last drop of Girja has nothing useful in her except her nuisance value. ¬†We have other better business;we have no time to waste. Tweedle De Twiddle Dum. Have you any choice? ¬†