Budget Adjustment Inquiry Committee says only required process has been completed, there is nothing in the report
The investigative committee formed to investigate the alleged entry of two unauthorized persons into the finance ministry on May 28, a day before the budget was presented to parliament, has begun studying the CCTV hard drive report.
The committee began the investigation by opening the seal of the hard drive obtained from the Nepalese police’s forensic laboratory on Tuesday.
Investigating committee sent hard drive to Nepal Police forensic lab after it could not get video of day former finance minister Janardan Sharma allegedly allowed two foreigners into ministry to change tax rates on the eve of the budget. .
The committee received the hard drive, sent to the Nepal Police forensic laboratory on July 20, Monday.
“Only the required process has been completed, there is nothing in the report,” a committee member said. Although there is video from the Ministry of Finance CCTV in the report sent by the Nepal Police Forensic Laboratory, the time was not revealed, the member said.
The Annapurna Post, sister publication of the Annapurna Express, published an article in its June 13 edition claiming that Sharma had authorized two unauthorized persons in the ministry to make last-minute changes to tax rates.
According to one provision, the Minister of Finance cannot even keep his adviser while changing the tax rates.
But, the former finance minister ordered finance ministry officials to follow suggestions from two outsiders – a retired senior military officer and a chartered accountant – on the night of May 28 to change tax rates to favor certain businessmen.
After The Annapurna Post made the news public, lawmakers in parliament demanded Sharma’s resignation. They also demanded that they be allowed to see the CCTV footage immediately. But the Minister of Finance had turned a blind eye to the request.
Stating that it was a matter of public interest, Secretary Jaya Prasad Paudel, on behalf of the Forum for the Conservation of Consumer Rights, had requested information from the ministry on June 28.
Paudel had demanded that the ministry provide a copy of the budget which was replaced by the Ministry of Finance presented by the former government through the order and footage of the night the two unauthorized people were allowed into the ministry to change tax rates.
In response, the Department of Finance said the CCTV footage had been removed.
“CCTV footage has been removed as storage could only keep records for 13 days,” reads a letter signed by undeclared officer Dhan Kumar Rai.
The committee had sought CCTV footage of the south and east gates of singhadurbar on May 28 and 29 from the home ministry to see if unauthorized persons had entered the building.
On June 12, the panel had asked to extend the deadline because it had been unable to gather evidence within the 10 days allotted.
In line with the request, President Agni Prasad Sapkota tabled a proposal during Thursday’s parliament meeting to extend the deadline by seven days. Parliament approved the proposal unanimously.
The committee began work on June 12.