Bechan Jha: The Crucial Figure in the Unrest Within the Non-Congress Alliance to Nominee Oli

Kathmandu: Bechan Jha is a significant figure responsible for disrupting the Prachanda-led coalition that transformed into a leftist-dominated alliance on March 3rd. Jha is an agent for high-profile individuals involved in the fake Bhutanese refugee scandal. Immediately after the arrest of the then-Home Secretary, Tek Narayan Pandey, Jha fled and hid in India. With the special initiative of the then-Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Indian police arrested Jha in Banaras, India. However, once Jha reached Delhi, he managed to avoid being handed over to Nepal Police.

Recently, when Inspector General of Police Basanta Kunwar was away, Indian police arrested Jha, brought him to Gaddachauki, and handed him over to Nepal Police, causing Prachanda’s government to shake. Until two weeks ago, Sher Bahadur Deuba ignored multiple offers from Oli to become Prime Minister. However, on June 30, Deuba suddenly went to Balkot not only to take curd and beaten rice but also to offer the Prime Ministership on a silver platter, with his wife Arzu accompanying him. The agreement was signed on the night of July 2. This is the story of Bechan Jha.

Bechan Jha’s Statement Yet to Begin, Phones Not Sent to the Lab

Even after a week of arrest in the fake Bhutanese refugee case, the police have not started recording Bechan Jha’s statement. Similarly, the mobile phone seized from him has not yet been sent to the digital forensic lab for examination, according to SSP Basanta Rajoure, Chief of the District Police Office, Kathmandu.

The police extended the remand of Bechan Jha (Birgunj Metropolitan City-7, Parsa) for the second time on Thursday. After the first 5-day remand granted by the District Court, Kathmandu, expired on Wednesday, he was presented in court again on Thursday.

The court granted a 5-day remand for the second time. Jha was brought to Nepal from India last Saturday by the police. Thirty individuals are being prosecuted in court for fraudulently promising to send Nepalis to the USA as Bhutanese refugees.

Pratik Thapa, son of former Home Minister and UML Vice President Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal, who was arrested last Friday, has been sent to jail for trial. He was also a defendant in the first phase of the case but had absconded.

Checks issued in Jha’s name by previous defendants were found. Various accused also mentioned Jha’s name during their statements, but the police did not name him a defendant at that time, citing his unknown address. The police have now moved forward with the investigation to file a supplementary charge sheet.

Jha was brought from India after confirming his residence in Birgunj Metropolitan City-7, Parsa. The Chief of the District Government Attorney’s Office, Sandesh Shrestha, said Jha’s statement has not yet begun.

“The police have not brought him to us for his statement. They brought him for remand extension yesterday. The police may be collecting more information. The more information collected, the better the statement will be,” said Assistant Attorney General Shrestha.

Previously, statements of other defendants were started at the Government Attorney’s Office on the same day the remand was extended. However, Shrestha noted that Jha’s case is serious and requires more evidence collection.

Kathmandu Police Chief Rajoure said that although the formal statement has not started, the investigation is ongoing in other ways. He mentioned that there is sufficient time to investigate Jha and everything will be revealed gradually. The two devices seized from Jha are also being prepared to be sent for testing.

During questioning, Jha denied his involvement in the Bhutanese refugee case. He also refused to reveal the involvement of others, according to police officials involved in the investigation.

The police anticipated that many individuals left out in the first phase could be drawn into the investigation after Jha’s arrest. Former Home Secretary Teknarayan Pandey, who was previously arrested, also stated that the case could reach higher levels after Jha’s arrest. Another defendant, Ramsharan KC, mentioned giving Jha a check of 20 million rupees to set up connections at higher political levels. The police also seized this evidence.

Ramsharan KC, acting as a middleman, revealed some facts about Bechan Jha in his statement. He mentioned that on November 29, 2021, during a Cabinet meeting, some decisions related to the Bhutanese refugee issue were to be made, and Jha demanded money for those decisions. At Sanu Bhandari’s behest, Ramsharan issued a check of 20 million rupees from his Himalayan Bank account to Jha.

KC stated that he gave the check to Jha on December 3, 2021, around 8 PM in front of White House College, Baneshwor Kathmandu. He also took a photo of the check and sent it to Pramaraj Panthi, who was preparing to go to the USA as a fake Bhutanese refugee. KC also recorded a video while giving the check to Jha.

According to KC’s statement, Sanu Bhandari said Jha would facilitate some decisions through the Cabinet for sending Bhutanese refugees to the USA.

The first-phase defendants mentioned names of various high-ranking political leaders and officials, but they were not named defendants in the first phase due to lack of evidence. The police concluded that arresting Jha could lead to higher levels of involvement. At that time, the defendants named eight more individuals, including former Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal, his wife Nainkala Thapa, former Home Secretaries Prem Kumar Rai and Maheshwar Nyaupane, former Prime Minister KP Oli’s close associate and former Provincial Minister Dr. Ajayakranti Shakya, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi’s associate Lila GC, and UML member Rajeshwar Sthapit.

If evidence is found, supplementary charges will be filed. Jha’s involvement as a middleman came to light last. Defendants stated that Jha was responsible for arranging meetings with political leaders, including the then-Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand, to set up connections.

Investigating officers claimed that Jha met with then-Home Minister Khand and Home Secretary Teknarayan Pandey on the recommendation of high-ranking Congress leaders. Jha is also accused of connecting Keshav Dulal and Sanu Bhandari with the Home Secretary. The police claimed that Jha had a good relationship with high-ranking Congress leaders.

However, Jha told Kathmandu police that he is involved in electricity-related contracts.

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