Former PM Deuba’s relative involved in arms deal with China: Nepalese politician

Arms deal lacks transparency, says Amaresh Kumar Singh, Independent MP, who unearthed the Nepal-U.S. refugee scam

May 17, 2023 02:49 am | Updated 02:28 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A close relative of former Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is involved in an arms deal with China that is being conducted in violation of due process, a member of the Nepalese Pratinidhi Sabha has alleged. Speaking to The Hindu from Kathmandu, Amaresh Kumar Singh, an independent MP has alleged that Bhushan Rana, brother-in-law of Mr. Deuba is involved in the arms deal that is prompting Nepal to purchase items like Armoured Personnel Careers (APCs), and tactical vehicles worth at least NR 6 billion.

“Bhushan Rana, brother in law of former Prime Minister Deuba is involved in the arms deal which amounted to NR 6 billion. This also involved local agent Lokendra Bahadur Karki who has powerful political connections within Nepali Congress. There were protests against the arms deal and as a result the negotiations were paused. The deal has not been cancelled,” said Mr. Singh who has been in news in recent weeks because of his strong anti-corruption speeches within the Nepalese Parliament.

Mr. Singh alleged that corruption has struck deep roots within the Deuba-led Nepali Congress as well as the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) which is led by former PM K.P. Sharma Oli. Mr. Singh further alleged that Thailand-based middleman Lokendra Bahadur Karki was involved in inflating the prices of items in the arms deal by around 30 percent. Lokendra Bahadur Karki is the brother of former minister for information and telecommunication Gyanendra Bahadur Karki who served during the Premiership of Mr. Deuba. 

Mr. Singh had hit the headlines last week when he took off his shirt in the parliament in protest after the Speaker Dev Raj Ghimire refused to allow him the chance to speak on alleged human trafficking involving refugees from Bhutan. Mr. Singh urged the Nepal government led by PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” to investigate reports of alleged of trafficking of Nepalese citizens to the United States. He complained that powerful politicians were involved in sending Nepalese citizens to the U.S. concealing their identities as refugees from Bhutan. The scandal came to light after Nepalese citizens brought up cases saying that they paid money for settling in the U.S. under the scheme for Bhutanese refugees but did not get clearance.

“Every person who was defrauded in this illegal immigration scandal was charged NR 50 lakhs for getting refugee status in the U.S. This is a very serious violation as large number of these persons who were selected were not the genuine refugees but were individuals of Nepal. There should be investigation into the security angle of this scandal,” said Mr. Singh. Over the last twenty years, around one lakh Bhutanese refugees into Nepal were resettled abroad. According to the U.S. authorities, 85% of that total figure were resettled in the United States. 

Amaresh Kumar Singh’s allegations have raised a fresh question mark on this process that has covered multiple administrations of the U.S. and several governments of Nepal. 

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