KATHMANDU, Feb 23: Gokul Baskota’s Rs 700 million commission deal controversy is just an episode of the government’s institutionalized corruption, said Nepali Congress leader Prakash Saran Mahat.
The government led by Nepal Communist Party Chair K P Sharma Oli is under a huge pressure from public and opposition parties after former minister Gokul Baskota’s bargain for 70 percent share out of Rs 700 million commission over the planned procurement of security printing press worth Rs 27 billion came out in the open in the form of an audio recording.
Baskota resigned from his post as Minister for Communication and Information Technology on Thursday hours after the audio leak following public pressure.
But it is not enough. The bribe deal controversy from PM’s Oli’s most favorite and trusted minister is a serious blow to the prime minister’s dictum of “corruption-free society”.
“The security printing press scam is clear proof of the government’s institutionalized corruption. Baskota’s audiotape controversy is just an episode,” said Mahat speaking a face-to-face interaction program organized by the Reporters’ Club Nepal on Sunday.
“The Baskota controversy has made people think if they did a great mistake election the Nepal Communist Party in the election.”
“The “Zero-tolerance to corruption” is only limited to slogans. It has been proved,” Mahat added.
Many believe the prime minister himself is involved in the security printing press scam since he did not think it important to initiate action against Baskota if even after being aware of the Rs 700 million commission deal.
Swiss company agent Bijaya Prakash Mishra, who is believed to have leaked the audio and was involved in the audio conversation himself, has revealed he had told the prime minister about the audio.
“Baskota was directed from above and is protected. A serious and fair investigation should be launched into it.
“The prime minister should shoulder the responsibility and answer to the parliament about the Baskota controversy,” he added.