Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"If I were to tell you everything I know about Prachanda ...", Jana Aastha Weekly

Ba-1-Ja-9268 is the licence plate number of the microbus which plies the Arubari-Ratna Park route. Its driver is Khadga Bahadur Shrestha, of Sallebhumlu Village, Kavre District. Shrestha started his driving career in BS 2047 (CE 1991) and joined the Maoist People's War in BS 2055. 'Sharan' became his alias. He was part of more than 25 fronts while in the military wing of the party.

When the Maoists joined the peace process, he was with leader Dev Gurung. However, when a need was felt for a reliable chauffeur for Prachanda, he started driving the Maoist chairman starting the last week of Asoj, BS 2063. On BS 2066, a deeply troubled Shrestha bid goodbye to the Prachanda mansion.

He was a fighter under the Third Division of the Maoist force. During the integration process, the combatants of the Kiran faction rejected outright the verification exercise, with Shrestha in the lead. Like the UCPN-Maoist has the Young Communist League, the CPN-Maoist has the Youth Organisation Volunteer Bureau, and Shrestha is its Kavre coordinator.

These days, he is driving a microbus for income. Since the microbus has its route and schedule, he used his lunch hour to talk to Jana Aastha. However, the time was too short, so 'Sharan' handed his microbus keys to a colleague and took the time to express his innermost feelings.

Jana Aastha: You have started driving a micro.
Khadga Bahadur Shrestha: Yes, since the month of Asar.

Do you own it or is it leased?
It's the owner's.

What is the difference from the driving you did before?
Before, gasoline and diesel were cheap. Now it has become difficult.

How was it that you joined the Maoists?
I used to drive vehicles. Around BS 2055, I had a friend named Prabhat in Kathmandu. It was he who suggested that I join the war. I was directly involved in at least 32-33 battles. The most memorable was the fight in Chainpur.

Why was that memorable?
We fought the Armed Police, and we did not even have adequate footwear. It was mountainous terrain, with leeches. There was also snow, and we went hungry. Very few friends are left from that front. Many became martyrs, but the majority left the force. We had been chosen from seven districts to fight in Chainpur. Parwana (Santu Darai) was our commander.

How do you feel, looking back?
The ideals that we fought have all been wasted. Obviously, we are not satisfied.

How did you get to work for Prachanda?
Among those who joined the eastern front from the driving sector, I was regarded the more seasoned. The job of driving the vehicles used during the fighting was mine. Ananta headed the eastern command, a friend named Parlok was also there. It is they who suggested to Prachanda that I would be appropriate. Krishna Bahadur Mahara agreed. At that time I was with Dev Gurung sir, who said, "If it is for the chairman then there is no need to think twice, you should go." I left after Prachanda gave up the government in 2066 and Madhav Kumar Nepal became prime minister.

Did you drive the official car when Prachanda was PM?
The job was that of chauffeur, but I did not drive. Even though we had governmental appointments, we did not take the benefits.

Surely you got a salary.
We did not take the money. If someone else pocketed it, I would not know.

So they did not even leave your salaries alone?
Dev Gurung had told me to stay with the chairman, but not to be excited by money. He used to say that money was only a means, nothing extraordinary. And so we never eyed the money. When the verification of combatants began, there too in the beginning we did not bother about the financial matters.

Where were you verified?
Though from the Third Division, we were kept in Kathmandu because of the nature of our work. That is why our verification was done here. When the agitation began in the cantonments regarding financial irregularities, we also made our demands. We demanded at least Rs 1,000 a month, and thereafter started receiving that amount. The government later put aside Rs 3,000, but even then we had to wait three months to receive what was our's. Later, when the sanctioned amount went up to Rs 5,000, they wanted to take out Rs 1,000. But we did not agree. Thereafter, those of us in Kathmandu were given the government allocation without any deduction. In the cantonments, they cut much more than Rs 1,000.

Many of your own friends have become leaders, ministers, and businessmen. They have built great mansions in the city. Others have lifestyles that match those of national and international industrialists. Meanwhile you have started and ended as driver. What happened?
I saw many people engaging in loot, but I was confident in my own skills. Plus I have the great experience of the battle. Even if I were to have to loot, I have both brawn and brain. If I were to engage in criminality, I have double the courage of your average thief or thug. However, I have followed the dictates of my schooling, and prefer to work as an ordinary, whole-timer party worker. I decided to drive this microbus until the party gave me a directive.

They say that many who worked in the Prachanda residence have become wealthy. What do you know?
In the beginning, we did not bother about such matters because we were dedicated to the revolution. But when it became unbearable, one day I said to Prachanda, "Listen comrade, the depravity and contradictions have crossed all bounds. We have begun to feel ashamed." He replied only to say, "The river brings with it a lot of stuff, which you have to clean." I know so much about Prachanda that if I were to expose it all, the people would chase him, beat him and... . That is why I am not telling you everything about him. But I will share this much: there is a cheat named Ajay Sumargi. After we saw him consorting with this character, we said, "Now this is going beyond limits, comrade!" Sumargi has made houses for those close to Prachanda. I will not name these friends, but their houses were built by Sumargi. I still get reports. Some would ask me, "Others have done so well, why have you not done anything?"

On the day that Prachanda signed the Comprehensive Peace Accord and shook hands with Girija, I was driving his vehicle. I was concerned by the decision to close down the people's courts and to send the People's Liberation Army to the cantonments. It seemed like the start of surrender to the old establishment. We had made such sacrifices on the battlefield, but now it seemed they were going to measure our chests and make us do parade. I told Santu Darai, "These leaders are going to betray us."

What were the discussions with Sumargi?
Everything good and bad that you can imagine. There will be no end to it if I start telling you. When a leader forgets that he is accountable to the people and to the party workers and the martyrs, when he starts consorting with smugglers and cheats, he becomes capable of anything.

Did Sumargi visit Prachanda with foreign-brand whisky?
The whisky used to flow freely like river water. That man used to bring imported fish and meats.

So Prachanda is a great drinker?
He would always drink with Ajay Sumargi, and reek of liquor when I drove him. According to my understanding, the communist movement seeks equal status for all without exception. I am the son of a poor peasant who started work as a driver to make ends meet. I did not join the People's War for the fun of it. Today, I see some comrades zipping about in their Pajeros while there are those who do not have even Rs 50 in their pockets. This is not the communist spirit. That is why I decided to disassociate from Prachanda's racket.

What did you say to Prachanda before you left him?
Nothing to him, but I told his hangers on, "I have come to realise your insincerity. Better for me to go home and work my fields than get stuck in this quicksand of contradictions." However, Dev Gurung sir learned of my departure and said, "Don't go home, stay here."

What event made you finally give up on Prachanda?
I lost faith in the way he left government even as he was prime minister. I had already suspected that betrayal was in the cards. I was concerned about the kind of language that was used at the time. He was always changing his position on important matters. I had told him repeatedly, "It does not do to assemble the corrupt and cheats from all over."

What is the name of that bird named Narayan Kaji (Shrestha)? The people say till this day, "Narayan Kaji is hardly a leader, he is a 'bird'." Why was he foisted on us as our leader, this same Narayan Kaji who supported those who had put a price on our heads? I never greeted or saluted that man, neither did my other comrades. However, he would try to get close to us. That's because we are the PLA. We did send a couple of friends for Narayan Kaji's security, but they were disheartened when they saw his proclivities.

How much did Prachanda mingle?
Whatever he does, whatever he says, it's all an act. He is capable of practically anything. He can cry, he can laugh, like an actor. Once, in BS 2063 he visited my home in the village. At first, I was flattered, but then people started asking, "What came out of Prachanda visit to your house? He too is a trickster." Later, I understood that it was no different from the Army chief Rukmangud Katawal making a show of eating with his hands in the soldier's mess. That visit to my house was a momentary act put up by Prachanda. He is an expert at deception.

How do you see the future of Prachanda-Baburam?
Khum Bahadur Khadka and Govinda Raj Joshi have been declared corrupt and are in jail. Prachanda and Baburam are corrupt on a wholly different scale. Their situation is much worse than even that of Gyanendra. One day the people are going to hound them. You can take it from me, a hundred per cent, they will be hounded. Who conspired in the royal palace massacre? Do you believe Gyane had that kind of courage? It was done by the army-police from within. Therefore, no one needs to feel protected just because they have a handful of guards. No one is protected with that kind of security. If that were the case, Birendra's clan would not have been wiped out.

You took voluntary retirement from the PLA. What did you do with your weapon?
We handed our's over to Parwana (Santu Darai). I would not know what they did with the weapons. I believe Parwana has handed our weapons to the Special Committee on integration. Later we heard grumbling that our Baidya faction had not handed in its arms. We too would like to ask, "Where are the arms that we handed in so conscientiously?"

How long did you spend in the cantonments?
Just a few days. When they began to eye us with suspicion, we decided it was not appropriate to remain there. Thereafter, we applied for re-verification, and from which I too received Rs 3 lakh.

What did you do with the money?
I was in debt, and I paid back with that money. I had spent a lot for the care of my brother when he was ill.

What salary do you get from the microbus owner?
The owner is a friend. I do not plan to drive for long, which is why I have not taken a salary as such. When I need money, he is always there to provide. The people around Prachanda like to beg for money without doing any work. But we work, and ask for money only when we need it.

How is your household doing?
I married when young. My wife, son, and two daughters stay back in the village. The son is studying in Class 10, one daughter is in Class 9, and the other in Class 6. My father and mother are also at home.

What are your plans for the future?
If we are abused, we will respond. We are making plans for action against frauds and cheats, not physical but moral action. We were not afraid to die yesterday. If we become scared, why, that will be no different than Prachanda.

1. Comrade
Brave man, Comrade Khadga Bahadurji. Please get a body guard your former boss is not going to like this.

2. Khusbu R
We already knew the Mao-baddies, in particular the great man Prachanda, were all khao-baddies, but to hear it from one of the commies themselves is something else. I am just curious why has Shrestha chosen to open his mouth today? What's the deal yo? Do retired ex-combatants like Shrestha want a bigger compensation package to keep their mouths shut? Or is this just friendly banter among the now no longer united communists of Nepal?

3. Nirmal
As there is a saying, "Stick around and watch; you may learn a thing or two and the experience is a dear teacher because the fools will learn at no others." However these red-fools do not learn even from their own experience and always needs to run after kamreds. Why don't these victims of their own leaders, as a part of their rehabilitation, learn to take care of their own family first. If one can't take care of their own family how come they do of the whole country!

4. Bikash
Not only jana astha but other party mouthpieces, dailies and weeklies  if you pick them up and scan the news you will get hyper-natural sounding informations. i remember once i had read "GP koirala dead" long before he died, "Baburam and Hisila captured in ktm" during the emergency period, i am sure most of us have heard these kind of news from hawkers. 
either God knows or individuals know what  they are,  i have nothing to say about individual,but as far as trustworthiness of  information is concerned i have serious doubts.

5. deepak

6. who cares
after coming to sense, this murderer has not still begged for forgiveness.... manche ko aukat, sanskar ragat ko nali ma huncha bhane ko yestai ho.

let me tell all of you nepalese and foreign nepal strategists one thing

after what this guy has said and more info he has got in his head, if he is not killed by agent bhatterai and agent puspa within six months- i am gonna have to say that agent bhatterai and agent puspa has surrendered (mentally), they no longer posses power like they used to and they have lost control over the society which once they used to have.

so time has come to go after maosit terrorist, its pay back time. 

even after their corruptions are exposed, things are clear that  they are nothing more than servants of indian, they have got nothing good to offer to nepalese........ and still there are four types of elements who will keep on supporting for some time:

1: those who are getting to loot, their share of the loot, personal political, power gain. 

2: those who are hoping to get the loot, share of the loot. personal political, power gain.

3: there are some elements in our society who likes to lick powerful gangs. 

4: and foreigners and those who get donations from those foreign evil powers. 

7. laxman

8. g6
well i would have asked 2 very important questions from my point of view. 
1) how does it feel to kill your countrymen on pretex of that they are corupt decieving and scums?

2) and what do you do when you realize that the same hypocrisy surrounds you. will you kill some more, this time your comrades and prople you knew and respect. 

you are a murderer who just had a dose of reality. welcome to the real world comrade. although i believe you belong in a prison or zoo/jungle.

9. g6
what i really wanted to express was that if this person is looking for sympathy then he will get none from anyone, however a way for reconciliacion should be always open for ones who show remorse and want to reconcile. i did not see any remorse on his part instead pride in battles he fought. he tries to come off as a normal person with wife and children a family man, well what about the teachers and journalists killed during the conflict they were the real normal people with family. and this guy joined the maoists on free will. you know what most of the people you killed or helped to kill didnt have friends who give them a vehical to drive in the capital so that they can make a living no most of them have to go in harms way to make a living. and in the end he is not really saying anything new or something we did not knew already. comrade just read the news and you will figure it out, or not. because you dont seem so bright to start with. 

10. Ra.1
This is another opportunist thug from the same clan.

He said, "The owner is a friend. I do not plan to drive for long, which is why I have not taken a salary as such. When I need money, he is always there to provide. The people around Prachanda like to beg for money without doing any work. But we work, and ask for money only when we need it."

How much do you ask for? 1 lakh... 5 lakhs.. I pity on the poor owner.

All betrayers and looters like you will go to hell including your leaders whichever panel you support. There is no reason to be proud of your so called mass massacre of 13000 innocent citizens.

11. Tashi Lama
I think this Mr. KBSS seems to be talking some truth and some not, because on his part when it comes to dealing with money matters, he makes that very simple, like asking for a cup of water. It is because money matters are kept clear in account even with father to sons relations, after all money matters and is accounted for.

However, the simple truth is that, nothing changes in the society when we ourselves don't change for the good of society. Moreover in the case of Maobati, it is worse of all, because of their brain washing and propaganda tactics, which was a success in winning the heart of poor majority of Nepalese populace.  Thugs like Prachanda and rest leaded these innocent Nepalese populace, who gave their lives with much hope for freedom and justice, same goes with the tactics of their teacher Mao-Tsetong of China, who misused the power and then suppressed the poor majority, as we can see the reality in today's Capitalist Communist regime of China, where the 90% percent of rich are the members of Communist politburo members of China. Same thing is happening in Nepal, but their richness will not last longer, it is because of the looting and blood in their hands of many thousand's of Nepalese. I am optimistic that these new rich Commies in Nepal will soon come on the roads to beg, that is for sure to happen, it is because of their bad karma in acquiring these easy money. No one can escape from the cycle of causes and causalities!  which we call is KARMA !!!

12. The one who cannot be named
I have to confess, Mr. Khadga Bahadur Shrestha might have came to his senses after all those expectations were crashed but mao-baddies will never. Mr. Khadga Bahadur Shrestha now realizes what wrong he did but its too late now.. And people here are already scaring others that if u are dare to speak against the mao or khao-baddies, u will be killed within six month. WTF !!! Who cares... Lets go to Mars people !

13. chRLIE
as i belive this shrestha have told some right and wrong. right about prachanda and wrong about his microbus owner. any way who knows he must be number one agent of prachanda, but he is follower of sir when he expressed. any wayi have seen the death of girija otherwise he will be in jail but his supporters and ministersare in jail, and see those chief of police they are in jail, have they thought that they have to go to jail and the prison guard will be looking at them because they will go away from prision what a karma, so all maoist pm, congress pm, and yemale pm and mantries wait those days to go to jail. look ex king gyannendra have ever thought he will leave rajgaddi and rajmukut and royal palace and king tittle,he did something wrong in his karma so he is bhoging it now and i always say he was the guiness world record holder king who became king twice and plz hey kathmandu kumari mata when the priminister will come to durbar square in your rath yatra, baburam does not salute you as you know kumari mata, plz take out thinking power from his eyes and then he will be automatically not eligible for priminister, and kumari maa i beg do not give dr. baburam bhattarai to became priminister any more from your divine power kumari maaa. jay kumari maaa. and dear listener there will be new priminister or dictator within a few days watch and pray for it thanks.prachanda you were oout from priminister due to kumari maas divine power and your buddy going soon to ok so have a nice party after no more baburam priminister because u do not have to call him priminister any more. make it happen kumari maa.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)