The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority submitted charge-sheets against Director General of Inland Revenue Department Chudamani Sharma and two other office bearers of erstwhile Tax Settlement Commission at the Special Court today, but the court could not register them due to lack of time.
The CIAA has indicted Sharma, who was a member of TSC, and two other former office bearers of the commission — Lumbadhwaj Mahat and Umesh Dhakal — in the charge-sheets. All three face charges of revenue embezzlement. A CIAA source said they had been accused of embezzling Rs 11 billion.
The anti-graft body had submitted charge-sheets against Sharma, Mahat and Dhakal yesterday as well but the Special Court could not register them due to lack of time.
Spokesperson for the Special Court Jagannath Paudel said the court could not register the charge-sheets due to lack of time to verify case details and documents. “It’s a big case. Our staff did not have enough time today to complete verification of details,” Paudel said and added that the registrar of the Special Court had issued an order telling the anti-graft body to come for registration of the charge-sheets on Sunday.
Sources said the CIAA produced Sharma before the Special Court only at around 2:55pm, five minutes before the closing time. “When a charge-sheet is registered, the bench has to conduct a hearing to decide whether the accused should be sent to prison or released on bail or on personal recognisance. We did not have time for all this today,” the source added.
The CIAA had produced Sharma before the Supreme Court as per the apex court’s order issued in response to a habeas corpus petition filed by Sharma’s wife Kalpana on Tuesday. She has named the CIAA and others as defendants in the petition.
Spokesperson for the Supreme Court Mahendranath Upadhyay said the apex court could not conclude hearing on the habeas corpus petition and as such the hearing would continue on Sunday. Senior Advocate Badri Bahadur Karki and advocates Bhimarjun Acharya and Sher Bahadur KC pleaded on behalf of the petitioner today. Defendant lawyers will have a chance to argue their case on Sunday.
The habeas corpus petition was heard in the division bench of justices Cholendra Shamsher JB Rana and Prakash Man Singh Raut.
The TSC had settled only 1,069 of the 1,726 applications that it received on long-pending tax disputes. Though the TSC had received applications to settle pending taxes worth Rs 30.5 billion, the commission had recovered only taxes worth Rs 9.5 billion from businesses whose taxes had been pending since long.
Members of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament had asked why the TSC had been able to recover only
Rs 9.5 billion.