Monday, April 20, 2009

MoD issues 24hr ultimatum to army chief to clarify on thorny issues

Picture Katawal
Latest News: Lt General Kul Bahadur Khadka is soon to replace Rookmangud Katawal as the Chief of the Nepal Army say sources.
The Ministry of Defense has given a 24 hour ultimatum to Chief of Army (CoAS) Staff Rookmangud Katawal to furnish clarification on three controversial issues related to the army.

The Defense Ministry has given this ultimatum in a letter it sent to the CoAS Monday seeking clarification on issues related to recruitment in Nepal Army (NA), retirement of eight army generals and boycotting of National Games by NA.

The letter has been formally registered at the NA Headquarters in Bhadrakali, Kathmandu, a ministry source said.

Accusing the CoAS of challenging people’s supremacy by repeatedly disobeying the government orders, a cabinet meeting on Sunday had decided to seek clarification from CoAS Katawal.

The defense secretary had personally called up the CoAS to acknowledge the receipt of the letter, according to reports.

The cabinet decision comes as part of a plan of the Maoist led government to relieve Katawal from his position, it is learnt.

According to a military by-law, the government can relieve the CoAS from his position if the latter does not furnish clarification within 24 hours or if the government is not convinced with the clarification.

The CoAS is normally appointed for three years, but the government can retire him if it deems necessary, the by-law states. However, the CoAS should be given a chance to furnish clarifications on the charges he is accused with.

CoAS Katawal had called on Prime Minister Pushpa Prachanda on Sunday. The PM asked the CoAS to quit and offered to appoint him as an ambassador or the security advisor to the PM if he quits voluntarily, reports say. CoAS Katawal refused PM’s offer, it is learnt.
Pokhrel of the UML added said his party has not been informed formally what clarification Katawal has been asked to furnish by the government.

He further said Nepal Army, as an arm of the government, should obey to orders of the civilian government without condition.
On Monday, India's ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood met Prime Minister Prachanda after indications that the government was planning to fire the current Nepal Army (NA) chief, Gen Rookmangud Katawal.

Katawal, a graduate of India's National Defence Academy and Indian Military Academy is due to vacate post in August but becuase of defiance of Government has been asked to leave early.

No comments: