January 17: The government has acquitted corruption-accused Deputy Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Shiva Raj Shrestha after studying a report prepared by a probe committee formed to investigate his alleged involvement in irregularities by abusing his power as the deputy governor of the central bank.
Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Baskota said during a regular press briefing on Thursday (January 16) that the government decided to give a clean chit to Shrestha as the probe committee report could not find any evidences against his involvement in financial irregularities.
“We decided to probe the accusations. We also received a report from the probe committee. But cleared him from the charges after finding no evidences against him,” said Baskota.
With this decision, Shrestha’s suspension is certain to be revoked and he is likely to resume his duties as the deputy governor once again.
Shrestha remained suspended from his post automatically after the formation of the committee as per Article 22 of the Nepal Rastra Bank Act 2058.
He was accused of favouring Ncell in a sub judice case at the Supreme Court and also of helping banks and financial institutions to conceal bad loans.
Amid these allegations, the Anti-Money Laundering Department of the central bank had written a letter to the government to take action against Shrestha.
A cabinet meeting on October 17 had decided to take action against Shestha as per the recommendation of the Department.
A board meeting of Nepal Rastra Bank then formed a three-member probe committee headed by Shreeram Poudel to investigate into alleged irregularities against Shrestha on November 4. Other members of the committee are Dr Subodh Kumar Karna and Ramji Regmi. After a month-long investigation, the central bank had submitted the 30-page report prepared by the panel to the Finance Ministry on December 11.
Members of the probe committee said they prepared the report after cross checking the data and files from every department and by interrogating the concerned officials.
According to a source, the report mentions about Shrestha concealing files of Apex Bank and Grand Bank, which has now merged with Prabhu Bank.
However, a member of the committee Ramji Regmi had told New Business Age in December that Shrestha alone could not have taken controversial decisions to approve the files.
“We have mentioned in the report whatever we found during investigation,” said Regmi.
The committee also investigated about the allegations that Shrestha was involved in financial irregularities during his trips to Argentina, Spain, Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka among other junkets.