Supreme Court reduces bail amounts payble by tainted NEA officials

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    TransformerKATHMANDU, JUL 14 – The Supreme Court on Sunday reduced the bail amounts payable by former Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) officials implicated in substandard transformer scam by more than half.

    Responding to a writ filed by former NEA officials including former NEA Managing Director Rameshwor Yadav, a division bench of Justices Gopal Parajuli and Om Prakash Mishra issued the order to that effect.

    The Special Court had had earlier sought Rs 43 million as bail from Yadav. The apex court, however, reduced the amount to Rs 10 million. The apex court also reduced the bail amount of another MD Yugal Kishor Shah from Rs 20 million, as set by the Special Court, to Rs 5 million. As for former NEA Executive Director Jibendra Jha , the amount was reduced considerably from Rs 20 million to Rs 150,000. Except Jha, all former NEA honchos implicated in the substandard transformer scam are in custody. Jha, who had deposited a bank guarantee worth Rs 20 million, is currently out on bail. He was released on condition that he would appear before the court as and when summoned.

    Similarly, the bench has also reduced the bail amount it had sought from one of the Chinese national arrested in the substandard transformer scam . But it was not immediately clear who the individual was.

    The Special Court had sought Rs 175 million in bail from Hu Zheng Qiang, General Manager of Hubei Sunlight Electrict Company Limited, China and Rs 15 million from Zou Yi Tian, authorised representative of Hubei Sunlight. The court said the Chinese firm had profiteered by supplying substandard transformers, which had aluminum coils instead of copper coils.

    The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed cases against 26 NEA officials claiming corruption worth Rs 411.8 million while purchasing 1,260 transformers in first phase and 735 transformers in the second phase in 2011.

    The anti-graft body had pointed out irregularities in the procurement and storage of transformers purchased, claiming that there is evidence to substantiate the involvement of various officials during different stages of the procurement process.

    The CIAA began its investigation by taking NEA officials including then Managing Director Rameshwor Yadav and former ED Jibendra Jha into custody following reports that millions of state funds had been embezzled. The CIAA furthered its investigations in September 2012 following complaints that thousands of substandard transformers were imported from China and Thailand in the past five years and that a huge amount of money had been misused.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post