ANANTA RAJ LUITEL
KATHMANDU: The Judicial Council’s probe report on the release of international drug peddler Gordon William Robinson reflects the face of the country’s justice system and the law enforcement agency’s loyalty to a smuggler.
He walked free after bribing Supreme Court justices Krishna Kumar Verma and Bali Ram Kumar on February 27, 2005 and fled the country. These justices had overturned the Special Court verdict which had slapped 17 years jail term and a fine of Rs 1 million on Robinson, who was in the wanted list of international police organisations. He was killed in Bali, Indonesia a year later.
Robinson had visited Dharan on June 28, 2004 with Rajan Bohara and Ramesh Lama, a relative of Chandeshwor Lama, the man who later played a key role in securing his release.
Incumbent Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi and his predecessors Anup Raj Sharma and Min Bahadur Rayamajhi had probed the bribery charge.
“There are ample grounds to suspect financial irregularities because a bank locker at Everest Bank in Lazimpat was provided to Robinson, an inmate at Dilli Bazaar prison. He was allowed to visit the bank for transactions (August 8 and 9, 2003) from the locker and had also withdrawn money with his credit card. He operated an account at the bank jointly with Bholanath Tiwari, a lawyer practicing in Bombay.
These facts show that Robinson had a huge amount and had mobilised Chandeshwor, Bohara and another inmate Raju Shrestha,” the report stated.
Drug Control Law Enforcement Unit Chief Hemanta Malla told the probe panel that Robinson was under the watch list of Australian Federal Police, Customs Authority of the United Kingdom and Police Network of Pakistan because he had committed crime in these countries. The probe committee investigated with the clue provided by Bohara, a person who had supported Robinson’s activities in the capital.
He was arrested at Tribhuvan International Airport on August 17, 2001 for possessing 315 gram brown sugar before he boarded a flight to Singapore.
The JC had investigated when the issue drew all-round criticism. Bohara told the probe committee about the financial irregularities in relation to the case.
Referring to his meeting with Robinson on April 22, 2004 in the jail, Robinson told him, “it is a matter of huge money. You cannot imagine it. It is out of your mind.” According to him, Robinson openly claimed that he had managed to bribe the judges. “Lama (Chandeshwor) is coming to see me. He is managing everything.”
Finally, the justices were forced to resign as per the recommendation of the probe committee report, which concluded that the verdict came just because of the money Robinson paid.
Report in a nutshell
• Serious flaws in criminal justice system
• Authorities allowed inmate to run bank account
• Permitted to operate bank locker and credit cards
• Openly shared his plan to bribe judges
• Got acquitted instead of 17-year jail term
• Judges forced to resign