SC releases Sharma on date

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A file phot of arrested Director General of the Inland Revenue Department Chuda Mani Sharma (Setopati files/ Anish Regmi)

The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday has released arrested Director General of the Inland Revenue Department Chuda Mani Sharma on date.

An extended full bench of justices including Deepak Raj Joshi, Dipak Kumar Karki, Kedar Prasad Chalise, Sharada Prasad Ghimire and Anil Kumar Sinha, after hearing on the habeas corpus petition filed by spouse of Sharma, however has said the corruption case lodged by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) at the Special Court should continue.  

The Apex Court has released Sharma on bail deeming that the bail amount of Rs 3.02 billion sought by CIAA is unreasonable. 

The joint bench of Cholendra Shumsher and Prakash Man Singh Raut, hearing the habeas corpus petition filed questioning legality of the corruption case lodged by CIAA for work done by Sharma as member secretary of the Tax Settlement Commission, earlier had said an extended full bench will look into the legality of corruption case stating there is a serious question as to whether the commission is a judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative body.

But the extended full bench in its verdict has passed the buck and said the Special Court should decide whether the CIAA has jurisdiction to investigate the works done by the commission or not. It has also ordered to send the files related to the corruption case back to the Special Court. The SC earlier had summoned the files of the corruption case from the Special Court and ordered the latter to keep the corruption case as it is.

The final pleadings on the habeas corpus petition had finished on Wednesday. The extended full bench had said it will give the verdict on Friday stating that there was not enough time to read the notes submitted by the advocates while pleading their case on Wednesday.

The Apex Court earlier on August 1 had instructed CIAA, that had kept Sharma in its own custody since his arrest on June 2, to keep him in judicial custody.

CIAA had lodged a corruption case against Sharma and chairman of the commission Lumb Dhwaj Mahat and its member Umesh Dhakal at the Special Court.   

Sharma was arrested on June 2 on charge of amassing disproportionate assets. CIAA arrested Sharma to investigate controversial issues like tax waiver of Rs 20 billion through the Tax Settlement Commission and lobbying for waiver of capital gain tax in sale of Ncell among others.

Sharma has been claiming that he worked remaining within the provisions of prevailing acts and laws. He has called the charges against him an insult of the parliament that formulated procedures for the commission and the government.