KATHMANDU, April 21: Maoist People´s Liberation Army (PLA) commanders have defied repeated appeals by party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to hand over some Rs 340 million that party headquarters believes is in the possession of some of the PLA commanders.
Knowledgeable sources told Republica that the commanders of the First, Second, Third and Fifth Divisions are said to have deposited all the money they collected from the combatants.
However, while headquarters officials believe commanders of the Forth, Sixth and Seventh Divisions are yet to hand over a huge amount that is in their possession, the divisions recently told the chairman that they had no money left to turn over to headquarters.
During the ongoing meeting between Chairman Dahal and PLA divisional commanders who are currently in the capital to discuss the issue, some commanders also expressed dissatisfaction over continued pressure from Dahal to hand over remaining money to party headquarters.
“It is disturbing to note that even earnest commanders like us, who regularly deposited money into party funds, are being grilled like wrongdoers,” a meeting participant requesting anonymity quoted a commander as saying.
Since they had handed over all the money they collected through a levy on the monthly salary and perks that registered PLA personnel used to get, party headquarters had no moral authority to seek additional money from the commanders, a brigade commander said.
Last February, the commanders, under tremendous pressure from combatants, disclosed that they had Rs 410 million in total. As per the accounts disclosed then, the First Division had Rs 60 million, the Second Division Rs 40 million, Third Division Rs 140 million, Fourth Division Rs 80 million, Fifth Division Rs 30 million, Sixth Rs 20 million and Seventh Rs 40 million.
"The interesting part was that neither the chairman nor other high ranking officials including vice-commanders have shown the courage to point out the divisions that they think are engaged in misappropriation of money," said a commander. The Third Division, which declared it had the largest deposit of Rs 140 million, has handed over just Rs 15 million, he added.
Sources further said the commanders also told Chairman Dahal that they are not in a position to hand over money to party headquarters even if they have it, because of warnings from combatants of serious consequences. The combatants believe that commanders who were in charge of the funds have channeled the remaining money into private accounts.
"The latest incidents of arson and attack against commanders at some cantonments along with the rapid and unexpected dissolution of the PLA in fact gave the commanders a good excuse for siphoning off the money,” said a commander.
Among the seven PLA divisions, only the First, Second and Sixth have records of money handed over to disqualified combatants and to the kin of the deceased. According to a Second Division brigade commander, a total of Rs 10.7 million was distributed to disqualified combatants at the rate of Rs 100,000 to each and another Rs 10 million was given to combatants and commanders as travel allowance for settling disputes in the division. from Republica daily newspaper