Special Court released Pokhara University officials on bail



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The Special Court on on 11 November, released Pokhara University officials on bail. These officials were charged in a graft case by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). 

A bench of Special Court Chairman Mohan Raman Bhattarai and members Bhupendra Prasad Rai and Narendra Kumar Siwakoti ordered the release of all 23 officials, including Vice-Chancellor (VC) Dr Khagendra Prasad Bhattarai and ex-vice-chancellor Keshar Jung Baral. 

According to Special Court Registrar Natibabu Lamichane, the bench in its 16-page order stated that the case lacks sufficient evidence to show involvement of the accused in corruption. 

CIAA on October 28 had filed a graft case against the 23 officials of Pokhara University accusing them of embezzling university funds. The commission had sought Rs 22.4 million in fines from the accused. The anti-graft watchdog, among other things, had accused the officials of accepting bribes while granting affiliation to colleges.

Those accused by the CIAA includes

  1. Vice-Chancellor (VC) Dr Khagendra Prasad Bhattarai 
  2. Former VC Keshar Jung Baral,
  3. Former registrar Om Prakash Sharma,
  4. Former members of executive council of Pokhara University
    1. Indra Prasad Tiwari,
    2. Bhawani Prasad Pande,
    3. Gyaneshwor Sharma
    4. Chandra Mani Paudyal,
  5. Incumbent executive council member Dipak Raj Paudyal,
  6. Registrar Dr Man Bahadur KC
  7. Head of Planning department Hari Bahadur Khadka
  8. Deputy administrators (accounts) Yadav Thapa and Rabindra Prasad Baral,
  9. Dean of the Science and Technology Faculty Suresh Prasad Bastola,
  10. Former exam controller Karna Bir Paudel,
  11. Officiating Examination Controller Purna Chandra Sharma,
  12. Examination Controller Balaram Bhattarai,
  13. Chief Consultant Padam Bahadur Shahi,
  14. Chief of Technical Section Binod Prasad Dhakal,
  15. Deputy administrators Hom Bahadur Thapa and Gobardhan Bhattarai
  16. Contractor Rameshwor Bhandari.

The varsity officials were accused for causing loss to the university by distributing donations arbitrarily, distributing pecuniary benefits to staffers flouting rules, irregularities while clearing payments for consultancy services, hiring cabbies unnecessarily despite availability of university vehicles, irregularities while constructing university buildings, among others.