Nepal palace refutes Maoist plot allegations
Mar 14, 2007 - 11:37:41 AM

Kathmandu, March 14 - Showing that their hat was still in the ring, Nepal's cornered royal family has lashed out at Maoists, saying the rebels' allegations about King Gyanendra's followers hatching plots to assassinate top political leaders were 'fabricated, malicious and unfounded'.

Reacting immediately to allegations made by Maoist legislators, both in parliament and outside, that royalists and the crown prince were trying to foment violence in the country to sabotage the ongoing peace process, King Gyanendra's press secretariat issued a denial from the Narayanhity palace here.

The palace, keeping silent over the allegations till now, broke its silence after the crown prince's name was taken.

'The press secretariat of His Majesty the King has refuted as totally fabricated, baseless and unfounded the malicious allegations made by the Maoists in the recent days against His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and the Royal Palace,' the terse statement said.

The feud between the Maoists and the royal palace took a new turn Monday when a newly nominated Maoist legislator, Lekhraj Bhatt, told parliament that Crown Prince Paras was leading a gang to stir trouble in the capital through acts of hooliganism.

The rebel leader also accused the gang of recently planting crude bombs at the residence of two prominent citizens, who have been advocating the abolition of monarchy.

Bhatt handed over a CD to Speaker Subhash Nembang, alleging it contained anti-Maoist propaganda and was being circulated by the crown prince and his followers among soldiers of the Nepal Army to incite them into violence against the Maoists.

The accusations against the palace were also taken up by Maoist spokesperson and chief of their parliamentary party Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who told journalists that the palace had earmarked Nepali Rs.600 million to execute an assassination plot.

Mahara said royalists were planning to kill Nepal's top politicians advocating a republic, including Maoist leaders as well.

The rebel accusations against the palace have started pouring in ever since their chief Prachanda created an international furore last week by saying the palace was planning to kill senior US diplomats in Nepal to throw the suspicion on the Maoists and wreck the peace negotiations.

Though US Ambassador to Nepal James F. Moriarty and visiting US Under Secretary of State Henrietta H. Fore have asked the rebels to furnish proof or retract the accusations, the Maoists have ignored both demands.

It remains to be seen what fresh retaliation the denial triggers from the guerrillas, who want the government not to wait for the June polls but abolish monarchy before that through a vote in parliament.

In February, King Gyanendra had issued a message to the nation, saying he had seized power two years ago to fulfil the people's aspirations. This created a row nationwide with the parliament calling it unconstitutional and asking the government to take action against the king for issuing messages without asking the cabinet.

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