Colonel Dilip Rana who was caught hunting deer in Chitwan has been cleared of all charges. Colonel Narendra Aryal of the Royal Nepal Army, who is in charge of the army's legal affairs, said that RNA's image was being tarnished by unconfirmed and false reports. The RNA is deployed to protect wildlife, but ironically, soldiers have been caught killing endangered species. And now the RNA's image is tarnished further-by the brass' decision to give Colonel Rana a clean chit.
Even the government has proved ineffective in the face of the army. Earlier, it had issued a press release stating that those found guilty of hunting in protected areas would be punished. The assistant minister for forests even stated publicly that the guilty would not be let off lightly. But even the assistant minister has been proved helpless by the army's decision.
Rana is said to have good connections with the army top brass. In fact, he has already served as secretary of a very important unit in the army hierarchy. Rana is also the son-in-law of former army chief, Dharmapalbar Singh Thapa. The former chief is said to be involved in an arms-selling scandal, and this new incident only proves that he still calls the shots in the armed force. The district forest officer who caught Rana hunting has been promised that he will be sent to Switzerland for "training"-or maybe to keep his mouth shut.