Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Probe essential, Nagarik



Suspicion over the growing proximity between Maoists leaders and some private telecom companies has been fuelled further by recent Wikileaks revelations. According to leaked cables from US embassy in Nepal, Smart Telecom had allegedly sponsored Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal's Singapore trip to meet the ailing Girija Prasad Koirala in 2009.

The contents of the cables may not be entirely accurate, but shrugging off diplomatic cables by terming them American propaganda is also foolish. Especially at a time when news of Maoist leaders trying to interfere with Nepal Telecom to benefit Smart Telecom and other companies have surfaced.

A Singapore-based company has 70 per cent of the shares of Smart Telecom. Even back then the Maoist chairman and his team's expensive trip to Singapore made headlines. The information was provided to the US embassy in Nepal by a person from the same firm who made arrangements for the trip. A parliamentary investigation established that Smart Telecom benefited through the intervention of a Maoist minister of communication. The Nepal Telecommunication Authority subsequently issued directives to stop them.

Although Wikileaks also shows how Dahal's tickets and expensive hotel lodgings in Singapore were paid by Smart, there is still not enough basis to prove the chairman's wrongdoings. However, given his anchoring role in the peace process and constitution writing, it matters that his credibility is under the scanner. The evidence so far indicates wrongdoing and only an independent probe can clear the matter.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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