Absconding contractor surrenders to police

Kathmandu, March 10

Contractor Manoj Bhetwal, who was on the police’s wanted list and has been facing multiple bank fraud charges, surrendered to the police today.

Bhetwal has reportedly turned construction of Kathmandu View Tower at Old Bus Park, in the heart of Kathmandu, into his regular income source, A-class contractor Bhetwal is also facing a banking offence charged by Chandra Tamang. Bhetwal is charged for swindling Rs 7.5 million, after the cheque he provided to Tamang bounced.

The police after acquiring arrest warrant from the Patan High Court on February 5 were searching for him. “We had information that he had fled to India, the court issued the order. But, we were keeping close eye on him,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati at Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, said.

Police said he surrendered to the police today after he landed at Tribhuvan International Airport from India.

Bhetwal, Chief of Jaleshwor Swachchhanda Bkoi Builders Pvt Ltd, is notorious for not initiating construction work of much-hyped Kathmandu View Tower.

After Bhetwal bagged the contract to build 29-storey tower on 6 March 2015, with a deadline to complete the project within five years, the government decided to move the existing bus park from the construction site to Khulla Manch.

No notable work progress of view tower could be seen at the site till date.

On 6 April 2017, the builder was granted another permission by Kathmandu Metropolitan City to build some fundamental structures at Khulla Manch, such as a restaurant, a health facility, couple of toilets and two bus stands to facilitate the bus park.

After getting permission from the local government he had build at least additional 52 stalls at the bus park at Khulla Manch, some on the temple premises there. Locals and activists in the area had later submitted a memorandum to KMC stating that Bhetwal was illicitly earning above Rs 18.1 million per year from the bus park at Khulla Manch, while not speeding construction work at the Old Bus Park.

Bhetwal ran the racket with tacit support of the local government. No action was initiated to punish Bhetwal and others involved in the illegal activity.

Later, locals initiated more stringent protest programmes that forced KMC to dismantle the additional stalls in the bus park at Khulla Manch.

A few months ago Bhetwal was arrested by Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police for embezzling Rs 1.5 billion received from Apex Development Bank as loan, but was released shortly.

Police said he had been blacklisted by couple of other banks including Prabhu Bank and NIC Bank for his tainted past.