Dhaka Shrestha owns audio conversation, but says its disclosure a conspiracy against him and the party

Dhakakumar Shrestha-Photo: Barsha Shah

Kathmandu, Apr 12:  Dr Dhaka Kumar Shrestha has owned the audio conversation that has gone viral and led to his disqualification as member of parliament is actually his, but the timing of the release, he said ‘smacks of conspiracy against me and my party’.

Talking to media people just before the central committee meeting of the Rashtriya Swatantra Party (RSP) began to formalise termination of Dr Shrestha’s House membership as recommended by its Disciplinary Committee, he said the voice heard in the leaked audio is his, but its release two months after it took place was aimed at damaging ‘me and my party’ on the eve of the by-election. Shrestha said he has already moved the court on the issue and ‘I am confident that I will come out innocent’.

He also expressed regret for the embarrassment and damage caused to the party. Shrestha, however, claimed that any audio or voice can be digitally manipulated, although he did not quite state if there was any such part that he had not spoken.

In the audio tape –a conversation between him and Medical entrepreneur Durga Prasai–he is heard asking for Rs 20 million pleading that such an amount is needed to pay to the core group members of the party to get health ministry for himself.

Prasai, on the other hand, has claimed that he is in possession of over half a dozen such audio tapes which he threatened to release at ‘appropriate’ time.

The Disciplinary Committee of the RSP that investigated the matter has come to the conclusion that Dr Dhaka actually made such demand from Prasai and his act constituted serious breach of party discipline and its commitment against corruption. It also recommended that his House membership and that of the party should be terminated.