Sunday, February 24, 2019

Biplov owns up to Ncell blast

Two days after a deadly blast – in front of the Ncell gate in Nakkhu – that took one person’s life and wounded two others, the Netra Bikram Chand 'Biplov'-led Communist Party of Nepal claimed responsibility for the explosion and also attacks on various Ncell towers in different parts of the country.
"We didn’t carry out the explosion targeting pedestrians," one of the Biplov-led party leaders claimed, apologising for human casualty. "We exploded the bomb to warn the ongoing corruption by Ncell."
However, fighting alleged corruption with terror is not the right and legal way rather will distract foreign investment.
Three people were injured when an improvised device exploded in front of the gate of Ncell head office in Nakkhu at around 8pm on Friday. One of the injured, Singha Prasad Gurung (49) died at around 1am Saturday at Mediciti Hospital, while undergoing treatment.
Acknowledging that the explosion at Ncell office and arson attacks on the its towers were carried out by the semi-underground Communist Party of Nepal, it also claimed that the party had no intention to target any member of the public. "The entire party rank and file is sad over the loss of a human life."
At least a dozen telephone towers of the private telecom service provider were torched in different districts including Achham, Kanchanpur, Nawalparasi, Nuwakot, Gorkha, Kaski and Myagdi on Friday night. At least four towers were torched in Myagdi alone.
The splinter of the erstwhile CPN (current Maoist Centre) – that waged a decade-long insurgency – Biplov-led Communist Party has been accusing Ncell of failing to pay billions of rupees in capital gains tax, taking the money earned from Nepal to foreign country, defying court order and buying staffers of the state-owned Nepal Telecom to make its services inefficient. The party claimed that the explosion was a warning to Ncell activities.
However, the illegal way and creating terror among the foreign investors will hit the country as Nepal is preparing to organise Investment Summit next month to lure foreign investment. The incident has raised question on the government's ability and preparedness for foreign investment, though the government has been repeatedly claiming that it will provide security to the foreign and domestic investors.
Ncell – bought by a Malaysian mobile giant Axiata from Swedish TeliaSonera in April 2016 – has been in the news for wrong reasons due to government mishandling of the case.  The then government ministers and tax officials told Axiata that it need not pay capital gains tax. But the tax officials also allowed TeliaSonera go back home without paying capital gain tax – normally paid by the seller, who gains to pay the tax – and also released money from its bank account.
The government and tax officials can still write official letter to the Sweden government through the Foreign Ministry claiming to capital gain tax, but neither the government nor the protestors including Biplov-led communist party are taking the legal and official way to resolve the problem but resorting to the vandalising and extortion destroying the investment climate of the country.
Responding to a writ petition by a group of civil society members including Dwarika Nath Dhungel, the Supreme Court on February 6 ordered Ncell and its parent company Axiata to pay capital gains tax. Five days later, the tax authority said Ncell and Axiata’s capital gains tax liability stood at around Rs 75 billion. The apex court decision has also raised serious question on the government and the law as to how come a buyer pay capital gain tax – against the international law and practice – and the seller, who gained is left to return the country,
Biplov Communist Party has been regrouping and being involved in extortion and criminal activities. It had been attacking Ncell and asking for donations too.

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