Today has turned out to be a tough day for Minister of Information and Communication Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota as an audio where he demands around Rs 700 million (70 crore) bribe has been leaked. And the audio is being widely shared on online/social media platforms.
In the leaked audio recording, Minister Baskota is heard bargaining for bribe with the local agent of a Swiss Company, Bijaya Prakash Mishra. The conversation is in relation to the procurement of security printing press for the government.
The security printing press is used to print passports, cheques, smartcards, postage stamps, banknotes and revenue stickers, among other valuable documents.
Moreover, the Minister can also be heard using foul language for other employees.
During the two minutes 31 seconds long audio recording, Mishra is heard assuring Baskota that he will get the shares of the commission once the deal is done.
Mishra says that a total of Rs 700 million will be divided on a ratio of 30:70. “You will get 70%,” the agent tells Minister Baskota.
Baskota’s mobile has been switched off ever since the video became public. He has been living at Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s private residence in Balkot of Bhaktapur.
A meeting between PM Oli and NCP co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal is currently underway to assess the situation whereas the main opposition Nepali Congress has already demanded that Baskota be fired from his post.
Meanwhile, denying his involvement in corruption, Minister Baskota has said that he will call for a press meet at 3 in the afternoon today to clarify his point of view regarding the audio.