Police on lookout for Dugars for engagement in black-marketing

Kathmandu, December 4

The police are on the lookout for Kishan Lal Dugar, chairman of KL Dugar Group, and his son Naresh Dugar, vice chairman of the Group, who are at large since a firm belonging to them was found engaged in black-marketing of edible oil.

“We have identified the two as defendants in the case of black-marketing and are searching for them. But we have not been able to round them up,” Superintendent of Police at Metropolitan Police Range Kathmandu Bishwo Raj Pokharel told The Himalayan Times.

The police are on the lookout for the duo since yesterday when they raided the warehouse of Swastik Oil Industries, one of the flagship businesses of KL Dugar Group located at Jadibuti in Kathmandu, and took in control five trucks containing edible oil. The company was planning to sell the oil at higher rates than the existing market price.

Swastik Oil Industries had started raising prices of edible oil one-and-a-half months ago, when the market began witnessing shortage of the product following disruption in supply of daily essentials due to the Tarai unrest and blockade along Nepal-India border points. The company produces around 450 tonnes of soybean, hydrogenated vegetable, sunflower and palmolein oil per day under the brand names of Swastik, Dhara and Bigul.

The company, according to Pokharel, was preparing to dispatch the trucks containing edible oil with price tags of Rs 320 per litre — double the actual retail price — to the market.

Police have already rounded up 41-year-old Aman Jauthan, in-charge of Jadibuti depot of Swastik Oil Industries, and 46-year-old Pramod Raj Adhikari, manager of KL Dugar Group, for their engagement in black-marketing.

“We are yet to interrogate the two,” Pokharel said, adding, “It will probably begin tomorrow.”

KL Dugar Group is one of the prominent business houses in the country, which is engaged in businesses of edible oil, food grain, packaging, herbal extraction, hydropower, construction, and banking and finance.

A case would be filed against the company for engaging in black-marketing, according to Pokharel.

Black-marketing has become rampant in the country since supply disruption started, creating shortage of various goods. This has raised prices of many products by three- to four-fold, hitting people belonging to low- and lower-middle income groups hard.

Although the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies had earlier pledged to crack down on those engaged in black-marketing, it has not been able to make much progress on this front.