Judge Koirala barred from regular duty over audio tape episode

The Judicial Council on Wednesday has barred Kathmandu District Court Judge Raj Kumar Koirala from his regular duty over the audio tape purportedly depicting a deal of Rs 20 million between him and advocate Rudra Pokharel to release Ichha Raj Tamang on bail.

A three-member committee under member of Judicial Council Ram Prasad Shrestha has been formed to investigate the episode and Judge Koirala has been barred from regular duty, according to Judicial Council Spokesperson Man Bahadur Karki.

The probe committee also includes Acting Chief Judge of Patan High Court Mahesh Prasad Pudasaini and Judge Mahesh Sharma Paudel.

News24 television broadcast the telephone corporation, authenticity of which Setopati has not been able to confirm, in a program Tuesday evening.  

Pokharel tells Judge Koirala to release Tamang, who has been arrested on a fraud case, stressing that such opportunity does not come regularly in the purported conversation of almost 10 minutes. He assures Koirala that he will talk with CJ Cholendra Shumsher Rana, who has been suspended since after an impeachment motion was lodged against him, and the top-ranked judge at the Kathmandu District Court about the matter in the conversation.

Koirala, who fears for his job at first, is convinced after Pokharel assures that his verdict will be endorsed even by the Patan High Court.

Tamang, who was arrested on charge of duping commoners off Rs 8 billion, was sent to judicial custody on December 29, 2021.

The purported conversation seems to have happened before that and the agreement does not seem to have held as Koirala sent him to jail.

Koirala, meanwhile, has claimed that he has not done anything untoward in the case.

Koirala has conceded that his attention has been drawn by news reports on the issue and assured that he will cooperate if the Judicial Council investigates the matter.  

“My attention has been drawn by news reports about me published today. I have not done anything untoward. I have played a neutral role despite different influences and pressure. Let the Judicial Council investigate me, I express full commitment to cooperate,” Koirala has posted on Facebook Wednesday.

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