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Former NAC‚ NOC chief slapped 18-month jail

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

We would like to urge the court to adopt speedy procedures to decide on corruption cases‚ as it is taking too long to decide - CIAA spokespeson

KATHMANDU: Partially upholding the six-year-old Special Court verdict, the Supreme Court today slapped 18-month jail sentence and Rs 14 million fine on former chief of then Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation Ramagya Prasad Chaturvedi on corruption charges.

A division bench of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi and Justice Shushila Karki today convicted Chaturvedi of graft and slapped the sentence and fine, deciding on a nine-year-old corruption case.

The Special Court six years ago on January 21, 2005, had slapped a two-year jail term and Rs 19 million fine on Chaturvedi.

The apex court observed that since Chaturvedi could not justify the sources of income for the wealth he had accumulated, he deserved an 18-month jail term and Rs 14 million fine. The bench has also decided to confiscate Rs 14 million with interest from Chaturvedi.

Chaturvedi is the second high-ranking public figure to have been convicted of graft by the apex court with such a long jail term and huge fine. On March 16, SC had convicted former minister Chiranjivi Wagle of corruption. Wagle is doing time in Dilli Bazaar Prison.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority had charged Chaturvedi with misappropriating Rs 70 million by abusing the authority during his two-decade career in government service. Chaturvedi was the chief of then RNAC when CIAA lodged a case against him in 2002 and was suspended immediately.

CIAA Spokesperson Ishwori Prasad Paudel said the anti-graft body was encouraged by today’s verdict. “We are inspired, but we would like to urge the court to adopt speedy procedures to decide on corruption cases, as it is taking too long — eight to nine years — to decide,” said Paudel. As per the Special Court Act, a corruption case, in general, should be decided in six months by the Special Court and three months by the apex court.

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