New evidence of the suspended CIAA Chief Lokman Singh Karki overstepping his jurisdiction.
On 7 February 2015, a day after a meeting between Karki and the Office of the Nepal Trust secretary Sridhar Gautam, the CIAA ordered the Trust to approve the ownership transfer of Gokarna Resort.
In 1995, the Royal Palace had leased Gokarna Resort to L M Suvir Brothers of Singapore for 30 years. A provision of the agreement between the Palace and the leaseholder prohibited L M Suvir Brothers from transfer its majority share to any other entity. The Trust, which was formed to manage royal property nationalised after the abolition of the monarchy, did not allow LM Suvir Brothers to transfer its ownership to Yeti Holdings Pvt Ltd.
However, the Trust swiftly facilitated the transfer of ownership of Gokarna Resort to Yeti Holdings. Karki is suspected to have had a personal interest in the deal between the two companies.
An investigation by the Ministry of Health exposed anomalies in the allocation of MBBS seats by the Nepal Medical Council. The probe team also recommended actions against the Council’s registrar Nilmani Upadhya in its report. But the CIAA raided the Ministry, seized this report and appointed Upadhya as its ‘Health Expert’. Sources say Upadhya showed Karki how to interfere in the medical sector.
When the CIAA filed cases against the Nepal Tourism Board in April 2015, it implicated Forest Secretary Sharad Chandra Poudel, who was known among his peers as an honest bureaucrat and against whom Karki nursed a grudge.
Tainted Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) General Manager Gopal Khadka was being investigated by the Ministry of Supply, but the CIAA spokesperson Krishna Hari Pushkar publicly defended him in a press meet. He said: “If action is taken against Khadka the accused will be cleared by the Supreme Court.” Then, the ministry promptly halted its investigation.
In June 2016, a team of ‘experts’ sent by the CIAA prepared questions for medical entrance examinations replacing the ones drafted by Kathmandu University. Later, CIAA secretary Shanta Raj Subedi told a parliament committee that CIAA Commissioner Raj Narayan Pathak’s daughter Priya Pathak appeared in the entrance exams.
On 16 September 2016, the Supreme Court decided to review a writ petition challenging Karki’s appointment. In a hastily summoned press conference, the CIAA announced that it had expedited investigation into embezzlement of allowances for ex-Maoist combatants. A commissioner later said: “There was no investigation underway, and no notice was ever served against any Maoist leader. Karki was just trying to bargain with Maoist leaders.”