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Public Hearing at Pokhara Airport: Director General Pradeep Adhikari Flees Amid Corruption Allegations

Public Hearing at Pokhara Airport: Director General Pradeep Adhikari Flees Amid Corruption Allegations

Pokhara — During the investigation into irregularities and corruption at Pokhara International Airport, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) Director General Pradeep Adhikari was questioned, leading to a significant change in his psychological and physical state. His heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration increased, body temperature rose, and he began to sweat. Visibly flustered, Adhikari was unable to maintain his composure and abruptly left the program. This action created a sense of disrespect among the parliamentary members and participants, strongly indicating that irregularities and corruption had indeed occurred.

According to the parliamentary subcommittee's preliminary findings, irregularities have been present in the construction of Pokhara Airport from the beginning. The subcommittee, led by Coordinator Rajendra Prasad Lingden and comprising 11 members of parliament and 2 staff members, reached this conclusion after an on-site study. They met with the airport project team and CAAN staff in Pokhara, examining various aspects of the project.

Director General Adhikari's failure to provide clear answers to the subcommittee's questions highlighted his lack of accountability. Initially estimated at NPR 15 billion, the project’s cost ballooned to NPR 22 billion through a loan agreement and has now reached NPR 27-28 billion, raising further suspicions of irregularities. "The project started without a business plan," stated Coordinator Lingden.

The subcommittee posed various questions to CAAN Director General Adhikari, but his inability to provide satisfactory answers led to him leaving the program in a fit of anger. This act of leaving in the middle of the session left the subcommittee members feeling insulted and undermined the program's significance.

The construction of Pokhara Airport, funded by a NPR 22 billion loan from the Chinese government, has yet to yield operational flights, resulting in financial losses. The parliamentary committee initiated an investigation into suspected financial irregularities during the construction of both Pokhara and Bhairahawa airports.

The subcommittee will conduct further studies on the irregularities at Pokhara International Airport and submit a report. This investigation aims to hold those involved in corruption accountable.

This incident is a significant step towards uncovering the corruption and irregularities in the construction of Pokhara Airport. Director General Adhikari's failure and the resulting anger from parliamentary members have intensified the gravity of the situation.

According to sources, Adhikari is directly involved in every irregularity. Last Monday, a warning program was held at the airport's gate. Vinay Yadav, President of the National Unity Campaign who led the event, stated, "When technical errors by the Chinese contractor company jeopardized the airport, Adhikari's silence indicated his involvement in corruption, making his imprisonment certain. He should also be punished for disrespecting the members of parliament."

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