Lokman ineligible to head CIAA, rules SC

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Jan 8, – Supreme Court has ruled suspended CIAA Chief Lokman Singh Karki is ineligible to head the anti-graft body.

A joint bench of Justices Ishwor Raj Khatiwada, Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Anil Kumar Sinha ruled Karki did not hold high moral character to lead the CIAA.

The court has also issued a mandamus order to the Constitutional Council and Presidential Office to appoint the qualified person as CIAA chief.

Likewise, the apex court slapped a fine of Rs 1,000 each to Sambhu Bahadur Khatri, Sarita Rai, Bhes Raj Aryal, Nakulraj Gautam and Prabal Thapa for obstructing court officials from pasting summons at his house.

Karki has been cleared of charges of obstructing the court officials from pasting summons at his residence.

Advocate Om Prakash Aryal, on November 24, 2015, had re-registered an appeal seeking a review of Karki’s appointment. His initial petition claiming Karki’s appointment as unconstitutional was quashed by division bench of Justices Gopal Parajuli and Om Prakash Mishra on September 24, 2014.

Aryal again registered an appeal at the SC seeking a review. The SC on September 17, 2016, decided to review its previous verdict regarding Karki’s appointment as CIAA chief and a bench of Justices Dipak Kumar Karki, Biswambhar Shrestha and Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada on August 26, 2016, asked the PMO and the Ministry of General Administration to present the original Cabinet minute of Karki’s appointment.

Government initially said the documents were lost while they were shifting documents from the earthquake-ravaged building. But after SC’s warned to take action against the concerned government bodies if the appointment files were not produced before it, the Prime Minister’s Office dispatched all relevant minutes to the SC.

Karki was appointed as the CIAA chief in May 2013 by Khil Raj Regmi-led government following a political agreement among the major parties.

As Parliament had been dissolved at the time, his appointment never required parliamentary vetting on which ground, according to many, Karki has repeatedly defied summons from the parliamentary committees.

His appointment as CIAA chief was widely criticised.

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