DoMLI probing assets of those accused

Kathmandu, February 6

The Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DoMLI) has started a probe into properties of those who have been dragged into the corruption case in the Lalita Niwas land grab scandal.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), on Wednesday, had filed a corruption case against 175 individuals, including former deputy prime minister and Nepali Congress Vice President Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, former ministers Dambar Shrestha and Chandra Dev Joshi for their role in Lalita Niwas land grab scam. The anti-graft body has also named Rukma Shumsher JB Rana and his family members as defendants in the case.

Roop Narayan Bhattarai, director general at DoMLI, informed that the department has already started investigating the properties of those involved in the corruption case including high-level political leaders and bureaucrats.

“We had already started a probe into the assets of those suspected to be involved in the Lalita Niwas land grab case. We have intensified the probe in line with the corruption case filed by the anti-graft body recently,” said Bhattarai.

Though the CIAA investigation of those seen involved in the Lalita Niwas land grab case is limited to this case only, Bhattarai said that the DoMLI is carrying out an investigation into all the assets of those who have been accused and whose source is suspicious.

“The investigation is ongoing and we will soon reach a conclusion,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bhattarai also said that the department is carrying out a series of investigations on suspicious properties of various other people, including business leaders and corporate houses.

The CIAA has accused NC Vice President Gachhadar and former minister Shrestha of embezzling Rs 96 million each. Similarly, former minister Joshi has been accused of embezzling Rs 70 million.

Former secretaries Deep Basnyat, Chhabi Raj Panta and Dinesh Hari Adhikari have also been indicted in the case. The anti-graft body has accused Basnyat and Panta of embezzling Rs 96 million each. Likewise, Adhikari has been accused of embezzling Rs 70 million.

The CIAA has stated in the chargesheet filed on Wednesday that the government had duly acquired 284 ropanis land of Lalita Niwas, but after restoration of democracy in 1990 the land plots were illegally transferred in the names of various individuals.

The CIAA has said that the accused in the Lalita Niwas land grab case colluded with government authorities to transfer land plots to their names.