Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has defended Gokul Prasad Baskota, who resigned as the Minister for Communication and Information Technology following a leaked audio recording where he is allegedly heard negotiating for a Rs 700 million “commission” with the local agent for a Swiss company.

Speaking at NCP’s training program held for Bagmati Province cadres in Pokhara yesterday, Oli said Baskota had resigned as communications minister not because allegation of corruption against him was proved but because questions were raised against him.

PM Oli said that there is no concrete evidence that can be held against Baskota.

“Baskota has said that it is not his voice and the baseless allegations leveled at him by an amateur person do not establish anything,” PM Oli said in defense of his once close aide.

Oli also went on to say that no legal complaints had been filed against Baskota and there is no need for anybody to publicise this matter as corruption allegation against him has not been proved.

He added that if Baskota was found guilty, action would be taken against him. He also warned that if the accusations were false, the person who made the accusations would be punished.

Oli also defended his recent birthday celebration wherein he was massively criticised for making his birthday celebrations a lavish affair.

“People are just envious of the development works that have been carried out. They are making my birthday an issue in order to shift focus from people rejoicing newfound access to electricity and water,” said the Prime Minister.

This is the first time that the PM has spoken about the Baskota audiotape scandal. The main opposition Nepali Congress had sought the PM’s clarification on the issue in the House earlier this week.