File Photo: Bal Krishna Dhungel

KATHMANDU, May 25: The Supreme Court on Friday has asked the government to furnish a written statement showing reason to grant official pardon to CPN (Maoist Center) leader Bal Krishna Dhungel.

The former lawmaker Dhungel has been serving a 20-year jail term in Dillibazaar Central Jail in charge of murdering Ujjan Kumar Shrestha in 1998, a resident of Okhaldhunga district.

Delhibazar Prison Office had recommended waiving the remaining jail sentence of Dhungel. But it was challenged after advocate Dinesh Tripathi filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court seeking prohibition of the waiver on Thursday.

The petition has stated that granting amnesty to a person who was imposed life sentence in a murder case on the basis of power and political nepotism is a wrong practice.

According to reports, Dhungel has already served more than eight years (40 percent) in jail on the same charge, and could be released if the cabinet meeting decides as per the waiver recommendation, and sends it to the President and the head of the state endorses it. The government is preparing to grant amnesty to Dhungel coinciding the occasion of Republic Day, which falls on May 29, said Onlinekhabar.

The SC has also summoned the government on Sunday for further discussion over the matter, according to Spokesperson Bhadrakali Pokhrel.

Okhaldhunga District Court, in 2004 had convicted Dhungel and seven others of Ujjan’s murder and booked him for life term with confiscation of property. But Rajbiraj Appellate Court had given him a clean chit in 2006. However, the SC in 2010 had overturned Rajbiraj Appellate Court’s decision upholding the 2004 verdict of the district court.

After Baburam Bhattarai-led government had forwarded Dhungel’s name for a presidential clemency on November 2011, implementation of the SC’s verdict remained on hold. However the apex court ordered the government not to provide any presidential clemency to Dhungel.

He had been walking free since then before he was arrested on October 31 last year.

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