July 13: A parliamentary special probe committee has started investigation against former finance minister Janardan Sharma for his alleged involvement in changing the tax rates under the influence of middlemen.
A meeting of the 11-member probe committee on Tuesday decided to seek CCTV footage to study the allegations labeled against Sharma while preparing the budget. Sharma has been accused of allowing entry of unauthorized people into the finance ministry on the eve of the budget announcement on May 28 purportedly for changing the tax rates in favour of certain business groups.
Secretary of the probe committee Surendra Aryal informed New Business Age that the committee has decided to seek CCTV footage along with other relevant documents to study the case.
“We have decided to seek the CCTV footage and other documents related to budget formation. The Finance Ministry must submit those documents to the committee by 2 pm on Thursday,” said Aryal.
Earlier, the ministry had made an irresponsible remark to the secretary of Consumer Welfare Protection Forum Jaya Prasad Poudel that the CCTV footage cannot be retrieved after 13 days. However, the CCTV Installation and Operation Work Procedure 2072 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs clearly mentions that the CCTV footage must be maintained for at least three months. The work procedure further states that the CCTV footage must be made available to the Nepal Police or other government bodies immediately upon request and the concerned ministry should bear all the responsibility related to the monitoring room.
Sharma was forced to resign due to the irresponsible remark of the ministry that the footage has been deleted. Voices have been raised that the finance secretary, who is close to the Maoist Centre, must also resign in connection to this case. Finance Secretary Madhy Kumar Marasini has been accused of trying to cover up the misdeeds of Sharma.
The probe committee meeting on Tuesday chaired by its senior-most member Laxman Lal Karna however couldn’t elect its chairman. Both the opposition and ruling parties had claimed the chairmanship of the committee. Secretary Aryal informed that the next meeting will elect the committee chair unanimously.
“The lawmakers will hold internal discussion and reach a concensus,” said Aryal.
The next meeting of the probe committee has been called for 2 pm on Thursday, informed Aryal.
The 11-member committee has been mandated to submit its report within 10 days after starting its investigation.