The Kathmandu District Police Circle has initiated an investigation into the citizenship dispute related with Rabi Lamichhane, the president of the Rastriya Swatantra Party, who has been recently elected as the member of the House of Representatives from Chitwan-2.
The District Police Circle, Kathmandu has received a letter from the District Administration Office, Kathmandu, and the process of investigation into the case has already started, informed Superintendent of Police Dinesh Raj Mainali, spokesperson of the District Police Circle, Kathmandu talking to The Nepal Weekly. “A letter has been received from the district administration office and the process of investigation has moved forward,” informed Kathmandu Police spokesperson Mainali.
It has been alleged that Lamichhane did not renounce his Nepali citizenship when he received US citizenship and that he started using his old citizenship card again after renouncing his US citizenship, according to Ukeraa.com, a popular news portal of Nepal. Ukeraa.com published a news report stating that Lamichhane had obtained a Nepali passport despite having a US passport. Lamichhane also worked for state run Nepal Television and other private channels, as a US citizen without obtaining work permit, the online newsportal added.
Lamichhane is the president of Rastriya Swotantra Party, which has bagged seven seats in the recently concluded House of Representatives election and secured more than 1.1 million popular votes under proportionate voting system.
According to Ukeraa, Lamichhane is now using the Nepal citizenship he had obtained 28 years ago before migrating to the US. Even after he acquiring US citizenship, he has not given up his Nepali citizenship. If a Nepali national acquires the citizenship of a foreign country, his/her Nepali citizenship will automatically get scrapped. The online news portal also claims that Lamichhane acquired a Nepali passport in 2015 AD based on his obsolete citizenship certificate. Also, Lamichhane fielded his candidature in the November 20 election from Chitawan 2 using his old citizenship.
A complaint was lodged against Lamichhane at the Election Commission before the Nov. 20 election. However, before the EC started inquiry into the matter, voting had already taken place. After that a complaint was filed against him at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
After receiving the complaint, the home ministry sent a letter to the Kathmandu District Administration Office to investigate into the matter. As per preliminary investigation, Lamichhane seems to have acquired a Nepali passport before renouncing his foreign citizenship and is subject to fine and jail sentence. Under Nepalese law there is no provision for acquiring double citizenship. Also there is a provision in the law for punishment for obtaining a passport or travel permit by providing false information.
If proven guilty under the prevailing law Lamicchane will get a fine ranging from Rs 200,000 to Rs 500,000 or an imprisonment of one to three years or both, according to legal experts.