Nepal government asked to recall envoy to IndiaBy Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
Sunday, January 9, 2011
KATHMANDU - Thirty MPs cutting across party lines Sunday asked Nepal’s caretaker government to recall the country’s ambassador to India, Rukma Shumsher Rana, following his alleged involvement with Indian multinational company Dabur Nepal, that remains under a cloud following a raid and investigation for irregularities.
The International Relations and Human Rights Committee of parliament Sunday summoned Nepal’s Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala and Foreign Secretary Madan Kumar Bhattarai for a clarification about Rana, who was reported to be the managing director of Dabur Nepal, Dabur India’s company in Nepal.
“The foreign secretary confirmed that Rana was indeed the acting MD of Dabur Nepal and holds shares in it as well,” committee chief Padam Lal Biswokarma told IANS.
“After he clarified Rana’s status vis-a-vis the multinational company, the committee unanimously decided that the government should recall Rana as the ambassador to India on moral as well as legal grounds. He should have been seen as Nepal’s envoy, not the representative of a multinational company that is being investigated by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).”
Rana, born in Kolkata and educated at the Doon School and Calcutta University, was appointed Nepal’s ambassador to India in 2009 after the Maoist government fell and the Indian government objected to the Maoist candidate for the post, Ram Karki.
Rana, son of former prime minister of Nepal, Subarna Shumsher Rana, was nominated by the Nepali Congress, the largest party in the ruling alliance of which his father was a founder member.
The ambassador’s name began to hit the media last month after the CIAA raided Dabur Nepal’s godown in southern Nepal following complaints of irregularity and found 74,000 cartons of its Real brand of fruit juices with a Jan 11, 2011 manufacturing date.
Subsequently, the multinational has remained under a cloud in Nepal with its chief executive officer (CEO) and production chief being summoned for questioning by the CIAA. They were freed from surveillance only after paying a security of 50 million Nepalese rupees.
Dabur Nepal is also being investigated by the Department for Revenue Investigation and has been slapped with a public interest litigation in Supreme Court.
Besides Rana, also under the committee’s fire is Nepal’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Hamid Ansari.
Ansari faces allegations of having misappropriated millions paid as compensation to a Nepali worker in the Islamic state.
“We have asked the government to probe the allegations against Ansari and recall him if they are found true,” Biswokarma said.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)