Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Errant' general to face court of inquiry

KATHMANDU, Jan 5: Dissatisfied with the explanation furnished by Brigadier General Kiran Bajracharya over his alleged involvement in lobbying against term extension of his senior officer, the Nepal Army (NA) on Tuesday constituted a four-member Court of Inquiry (CoI) to initiate court martial proceedings against him.

NA has accused Bajracharya, second in-command of the Office of Director General of Development and Construction, of a “serious breach of discipline”. Bajracharya has been accused of lobbying against the term extension of Major General Naresh Basnyat with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Defense Minister Bidhya Bhandari.

“A Court of Inquiry has been formed to further investigate into the matter,” a major general told Republica.

According to army sources, the four-member CoI, which is headed by Inspector General Netra Bahadur Thapa, comprises Brigadier General Hem Khatri and Colonels Nawajib Shumsher Rana and Ratna Prakash Thapa.

Earlier, the military secretariat had asked Bajracharya to submit a written clarification within 24 hours as to what promoted him to lobby against the term extension of his senior officer.

The clarification, along with a “note” from the secretariat was then forwarded to Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Chhatra Man Singh Gurung before being handed over to NA´s Legal Department.

The CoI, if deemed necessary, may recommend the army headquarters to initiate court martial proceedings against Bajracharya, which may amount to dismissal from the post and/or imprisonment of up to seven years.

NA is especially concerned over Bajracharya for taking his subordinates -- Lieutenant Colonel Premendra Kishor Chhetri and Majors Kiran Shrestha and Pankaj Thapa, among others -- along with him to lobby against the extension of his senior officer. This has been viewed by the headquarters as inviting political intervention.

The source further revealed that the headquarters is also making necessary preparations to initiate action against the general´s five subordinates.
Despite the lobbying, the cabinet had extended the term of Maj Gen Basnyat for two years on December 26, 2010. Basnyat and Bajracharya had entered NA at the same time as second lieutenants.

However, Basnyat was always in the “limelight” and got promoted as Maj Gen while Bajracharya was frequently “sidelined” by the NA headquarters.


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