Sirohiya alleges citizenship charges are revenge by Home Minister

Sirohiya alleges citizenship charges are revenge by Home Minister

Kailash Sirohiya, Chairman of the Kantipur Media Group, claiming that the charges against him over his citizenship are motivated by revenge against critical reporting on Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane.

Sirohiya, currently held in Dhanusha on citizenship charges, claimed in court that he acquired his Nepali citizenship lawfully from the appropriate state agency in 2036 through descent. He contends that the primary reason for the current dispute over his citizenship is in response to exposés by Kantipur and other media organizations regarding Lamichhane's 'string of errors,' which encompass his personal citizenship problems and suspected participation in a cooperative fraud lawsuit.

In his detailed statement made in court on Wednesday and released by his lawyers on Thursday, Sirohiya claimed he is the target of a "plan woven" after media revealed Lamichhane was involved in the misappropriation of funds from multiple cooperatives while he was a shareholder and director at Gorkha Media Network Pvt Ltd.

Sirohiya asserted that the issue is not about his citizenship itself, which he received at age 18 in 2036 BS with citizenship number 39698886 from Dhanusha. He provided details on obtaining other legal documents like a national ID card, passports and driver's licenses over the decades based on this citizenship.

He questioned why Home Ministry records seemed to indicate his citizenship was not found, when the ministry had previously verified and renewed his documents. Sirohiya alleged the overnight arrest at his Kathmandu office by armed police was an "extreme abuse of state power" intended to suppress media criticism of Lamichhane.

The statement reiterated Sirohiya's readiness to cooperate with any investigation but said his arrest was unnecessary and a violation of citizen rights. It claimed the dispute is really about Lamichhane facing scrutiny over holding a dual passport and his involvement in the cooperative embezzlement case, not about any issue with Sirohia's own citizenship obtained nearly half a century ago.

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