The Supreme Court (SC) has refused to register a writ petition demanding a high-level investigation against Finance Minister Janardan Sharma for involving unauthorized persons in preparation of budget.
SC Spokesperson Bimal Paudel told Setopati that the petition brought by the Forum for Protection of Consumers Rights Nepal has been rejected. “That petition has been rejected showing reasons and grounds like it is the House’s rights to decide about what kind of committee to form and how to investigate this issue,” he stated.
Sharma was reappointed finance minister on Sunday after the parliamentary special committee formed to investigate charges of budget tampering against him gave a clean chit concluding that unauthorized persons didn’t change tax rates in the budget for the current fiscal year.
CPN-UML lawmakers in the committee, however, put a nine-page dissenting opinion. Ruling lawmakers in the committee concluded that Sharma is innocent pointing that the evidence and statements collected do not prove that he is guilty while UML lawmakers were adamant that he cannot be deemed innocent on the basis of evidence and statements collected.
Sharma was accused of inviting unauthorized persons to the Finance Ministry to tweak tax rates at the time of finalizing the budget on the night of May 28. He denied the allegations.
He courted another controversy when the Finance Ministry, responding to a right to information (RTI) request seeking closed-circuit TV (CCTV) footage of the night before the budget presentation, said that it does not have CCTV footage of more than 13 days.
Sharma resigned on July 6 after the 11-member parliamentary committee was formed to investigate allegations against him.
The forensic lab of Nepal Police recovered the Finance Ministry’s CCTV footage of May 28 and May 29 but the footage could not establish entry of unauthorized persons in the Finance Ministry.
Forensic experts told the committee that the quality of the Finance Ministry’s CCTV footage had deteriorated as they had transferred the videos to multiple devices in order to check them