President pardons Pandey
President Dr Ram Baran Yadav today pardoned former Federation of the Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) president Pradeep Jung Pandey.
The President’s press advisor Rajendra Dahal confirmed that Pandey is among 21 persons granted pardon by the President under the Article 151 of the Interim Constitution that authories the President to grant pardon to convicts according to the cabinet’s recommendation. The President did not have any right to refute the cabinet recommendation.
A statement from the President’s Office stated that the commutation was granted to 21 persons – including Pandey – on the recommendation of cabinet.
“The individuals convicted by various district courts have been pardoned on the recommendation of cabinet,” the statement read.
The cabinet meeting on Friday had decided to grant clemency to 21 convits.
Earlier, on March 17, the Supreme Court had ruled that Pandey should serve the remaining time of over one year from the total three years sentence. The Apex Court had refused Pandey’s plea not to arrest him for the already ‘settled corruption case’. While Pandey had moved the SC claiming that that the case was resolved through ‘royal pardon’, the Kathmandu District Court had stated that there are no records of such waiver.
On March 18, the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police had arrested Pandey in connection with a 30-year-old corruption case. Following Pandey’s arrest, the FNCCI removed Pandey and elected Pashupati Murarka as its president on July 3.
In June 1982, Patan Court had convicted Pandey on corruption charge. Pandey, who was working as accountant at the state-owned Water Supply Cooperation at the time, was slapped with three-year jail term and a fine of Rs 5,000.
But he was yet to serve the jail sentence of one year, nine months and 27 days, according to the court, though Pandey had claimed that his jail sentence was waived by the then king on November 20, 1985. He had also claimed that his fine had also been waived by the then king through a separate decree.
His rivals moved to the court after he won the election of president of FNCCI last year.
After arrest, Pandey, however, was admitted at the Gangalal Heart Centre, Bansbari due to chest pain. After undergoing treatment for some days, he was shifted to Himal Nursing Home and has been at the hospital.
Article 151 of the Interim Constitution has a provision of ‘pardons’ that states ‘the President may, on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, grant pardons and suspend, commute or remit any sentence passed by any court, special court, and military court or by any other judicial quasi-judicial or administrative authority or body.’
The Ministry of Home Affairs had recently forwarded the document to the council of ministers including the name of Pandey to grant pardon.
“He has already served his time in jail years back, said home secretary Surya Silwal. “But then after he has been active in many organisations holding higher positions,” he said, adding that many government bodies have verified his deeds before ministry forwarded the waiver document.