• LALITA NIWAS LAND SCAM
KATHMANDU, MAY 7
A division bench of justices Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada and Ananda Mohan Bhattarai referred the case of Shobha Kanta Dhakal, a defendant in the Lalita Niwas Land grab case, to a full bench as they differ with each other's opinions. While Khatiwada ordered release of Dhakal on a bail of Rs 30 million, Justice Bhattarai ruled that he should be kept in jail till the final adjudication of the case.
Justice Khatiwada said that given the process whereby Dhakal won the title of the disputed property, issuance of a writ by the Supreme Court as demanded by Dhakal in 2008, the nature of the case and the fact that another defendant of the case Min Bahadur Gurung had been released on bail, Dhakal deserved a bail.
Justice Bhattarai, however, opined that Dhakal, who had been accused of playing key role in registering the government land in his and his family's name, should not be compared with other defendants.
Dhakal was sent to judicial custody by the Special Court on February 10.
The Special Court had observed that although Dhakal pleaded not guilty in the case, the court had no reason to grant him bail as his wife Uma Dhakal had said that her husband had done everything to purchase Lalita Niwas land plots in her name.
The CIAA has accused Shobha Kanta of embezzling Rs 39 crore.
On 5 February 2019, the CIAA had filed a corruption case against 175 individuals, including former deputy prime minister and Nepali Congress Vice-president Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, former CIAA Chief Deep Basnyat, and former ministers Dambar Shrestha and Chandra Dev Joshi for their role in Lalita Niwas land grab case. The anti-graft body has also named Rukma Shumsher JB Rana and his family as defendants in the case.
The family of late Subarna Shumsher Rana claimed that the Panchayat government had confiscated 299-ropani land in Baluwatar that belonged to them.
The post-democracy era government returned only those plots that were forfeited by the government in 1960 to punish Subarna Shumsher and Kanchan Shumsher for championing the cause of democracy.
As per the Sharada Prasad Trital-led investigation committee's recommendations, the government has halted the sale and purchase of plots in Lalita Niwas area.
A version of this article appears in the print on May 8, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.