Know all about Nepali Army Conspiracy Case – Court Martial hunts for suspects – Supreme Court intervenes with a three-day order
Kathmandu, March 1. Two senior officers of the Nepali Army have been detained on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the Chief of Army Staff.
A high-ranking source from Army headquarters told DCNepal that Colonel Mahendrajung Shah and Lieutenant Colonel Kuldeep Timilsina have been under military custody since Sunday, February 26.
Evidence found while investigating Prem Shahi Corruption Case
“Shah and Timilsina were arrested after an email exchange revealed their involvement in a conspiratory scheme to replace Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Prabhu Ram Sharma with another chief,” our source further explained that the court of inquiry led by Major General Baburam Shrestha discovered email evidence implicating Shah and Timilsina while looking into the corruption case of Major General Prem Shahi.
“It is not clear whether Major General Prem Shahi is connected to the case. He is also in custody for an ongoing investigation into charges of corruption.” our source added.
Tracking down suspects, inside and outside the army
Brigadier General Krishna Prasad Bhandari, Directorate of Public Relations and Information and Army Spokesperson, responded to DCNepal and said that while Shah and Timilsina duo are under surveillance of the military police in Bhadrakali, the army has formed a special inquiry team to deeply investigate the matter and also track down other individuals involved in the plot, inside and outside the army.
CoAS Sharma has constituted a seven-member Court Martial board under the leadership of Major General Tara Dhoj Pandey. Other members include Major General Krishna Dev Bhatta, Brigadier General Jiban Dahal (Judge Advocate General’s Department), Brigadier General Pawan Khatri, Brigadier General Bishnu Bahadur Raut, and Colonel Narayan Thapa.
The military headquarter has indicated that the court martial board will dismantle the larger network, and all individuals involved will be prosecuted.
Supreme Court’s intervention
A few hours after DCNepal flashed the news of the Shah and Timilsina detention, the Supreme Court of Nepal on Wednesday afternoon ordered the military headquarters to summon the arrested officers before the court.
The single bench of Justice Hari Phuyal issued an order to CoAS Sharma to summon the Shah and Timilsina into the Supreme court within three days, along with the justifications for their military detention.
We have received information that the two officers filed a habeas corpus case against the Commander-in-Chief. The court will now assess the legality of the detention.
Threats to Military Chain of Command
In any military organization in the globe, if a mutiny or conspiracy plot is discovered, the military typically establishes a court martial inquiry, arrests the suspects, and, if any evidence is discovered, punishes the accused based on its internal laws.
It has been observed that civil courts rarely ever intervene in internal disciplinary cases that are subject to military rules and regulations. It is considered that the involvement of the civil court might disrupt the rigid organizational structure and the chain of command within the military. The weakening of the military chain of command poses threats to national security. Any civil court should therefore refrain from getting into military matters unless the officers’ lives are in danger.
The Nepali Supreme Court, however, has been obstructing the Nepali Army’s internal activities. For the past few years, civil justices have been continuously issuing orders concerning the retirement of officers, personnel enrolment in training programs, and military detentions.
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