KATHMANDU, Jan 22: Agni Sapkota is not a criminal, said National Assembly member Ram Narayan Bidari.
The 61-year-old has been elected unopposed as the new speaker of the House of Representatives as he remained the sole candidate for the position. Sapkota’s election to the post will be formally announced in the next HoR meeting, scheduled for Sunday, though.
However, leaders of civil society and human rights activists have expressed serious concerns over his nomination the speaker’s election provided Sapkota faces accusation of abducting and ordering the murder of Arjun Bahadur Lama, a residence of Karvepalanchowk district, during the Maoist insurgency in 2005.
They have also publicly appealed the political leaders concerned to reconsider the decision to elect Sapkota arguing “grave injustice” to Lama’s widow Purnimaya.
Bidari laughed off the criticisms saying the so-called civil society get impatient when they don’t find a mess.
“Sapkota is a qualified and capable candidate for the position. He will lead the lower house very well,” Bidari said in a radio program Nepali Bahas.
“Their appeals are baseless and against the law.”
When inquired about the murder case against Sapkota which, according to reports, is sub judice at the Supreme Court, Bidari said the rumors that misleading.
“There are no cases against Sapkota sub judice at any court in the country,” he said.
“Purnimaya has filed a complaint at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission seeking action against Sapkota in connection with her husband’s murder.
“To be a convict of a crime, the court has to issue a verdict against one. Has Sapkota faced any action? Has the court convicted him? “
“The truth is no cases against him have been registered at any court.”
“I respect Purnimaya. But, there has neither been any investigation nor the commission has concluded Sapkota as guilty.”
“Therefore, Sapkota is not an accused. He is not a murder convict.”