‘Land-grab culprits will be brought to book’         

Kathmandu, May 2

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Baskota today said that no one involved in encroaching the government land, including that of Lalita Niwas, can go scot-free as the government is committed to bringing the culprits to book.

The minister was addressing mediapersons at the weekly press briefing of the Cabinet decisions. Minister Baskota said the government would take action against all those involved in the Lalita Niwas land grab case.

At the programme, reporters had inquired about the government’s stance on Bishnu Paudel, general secretary of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), and the opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, who are linked with the Lalita Niwas case. Mediapersons had also sought clarification from the minister to the claim by the family of late Nepali Congress leader Subarna Sumsher Rana who said that the government had occupied their land at Lalita Niwas without paying due compensation.

Replying to queries, Minister Baskota said the government would acquire the land at all cost and that it would not pay compensation to anyone. “Be it a member from the ruling party or the opposition party, the government will retain its land and those involved in the scam will be penalised as per the law,” he said.

Lalita Niwas land encroachment issue surfaced after a probe committee led by former under-secretary Sharada Prasad Trital found that ‘land mafia,’ in collusion with officials of Land Revenue Office, Dillibazar, had transferred ownership of 113.3 ropanis of land belonging to the government to private citizens between 1991 and 2017.

“In fact, the land grab issue came out thanks to the initiative of our government. But there are people who blame us for the encroachment which is totally wrong,” Minister Baskota said.