Nepal Maoist chief's son accused of Everest affair

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Nepal's ruling Maoists said on Thursday they have suspended their leader's son after he was accused of starting an affair with a student activist while they were climbing Mount Everest together.

Party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal's son Prakash, who is on his second marriage and has a baby boy, is alleged to have struck up the relationship with Bina Magar, 26, as they were coming down from the world's highest peak in May.

"The party has suspended Prakash Dahal from the state committee to investigate the allegations regarding the breach of discipline," Maoist politburo member Shakti Basnet said.

"Serious questions have been raised about his relationship with a female student leader. We have started the process of investigation to find out the reality," said Basnet.

The Maoists are probing whether Prakash, 31, broke their code of conduct, which states that members' public activities must not bring the party into disrepute.

Prakash, whose father - also known as Prachanda - led a 10-year 'people's war' against Nepal's royal family and political elites that left some 16,000 people dead, has courted controversy since the end of the conflict in 2006.

The Maoists were accused of corruption after it emerged they had granted Prakash $250,000 for the Everest expedition.

He is said to have met Magar, who is married to a student member of a hardline breakaway faction of the Maoist party, while they were in training for the climb.

The Indian Express newspaper reported on Thursday the couple were 'in hiding' in Patna, the eastern Indian city where Prakash studied from 1996 to 2002.

"From the base camp, at least two members of the team kept informing Prakash's parents that Bina and Prakash's behaviour would bring disrepute to the family and the party," the paper quoted an unnamed Maoist activist as saying.

"But Prachanda and his wife did not take it seriously," the daily added. Basnet said Prakash "has all of a sudden gone out of the contact with the party."

Three years ago the younger Dahal was widely criticised after a Nepalese newspaper splashed on its front page a picture it said showed him in a drunken state in public.

Dozens of Nepalis have taken to social media websites to criticise both Prachanda and his son.

"Now that brat Prakash is (a) proletariat Casanova," broadcaster and writer Shivani Singh Tharu wrote on Twitter.

"Prachanda must have realised - it's easy to be revolutionary but difficult to be realistic," Tharu said.

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