Kathmandu District Attorney's Office has returned files of investigation submitted by the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police in the Lalita Niwas land grab case.

Kathmandu District Attorney Ganga Paudel told THT that since the police investigation was not complete, his office returned the file to CIB asking it to bring it after completing the investigation.

According to a knowledgeable source, CIB investigated more than 300 people, including some high-ranking bureaucrats for allegedly committing forgery to transfer Lalita Niwas land plots to individuals.

But it is not clear how many people the police finally named defendants in their investigation.

A few days ago, Deputy Inspector General Dhiraj Pratap Singh had told THT that more than 300 offenders, including many VIPs, faced criminal charges in the land grab scam. Only three of the more than 300 accused have been arrested so far. They are: Shobha Kant Dhakal, private legal aid-provider Ram Kumar Subedi, and his wife Madhavi.

Since the statutory time limit of two years for filing forgery cases against the accused would end in five weeks, the CIB will be under pressure to complete the probe the District Attorney's Office has asked it to do.

People being investigated by CIB in the forgery case have been accused of creating fake government documents to transfer ownership of Lalita Niwas (the complex that houses the prime minister's residence, Nepal Rastra Bank's central office, and VIP residences) into private ownership.

The current CIB investigation in the forgery case is related to the Lalita Niwas land grab case. On 6 February 2020, the Commission for the Investigation of the Abuse of Authority had filed a corruption case against 175 individuals for transferring Lalita Niwas land plots in individuals' names.

The 175 people accused by the CIAA in Lalita Niwas land grab case include former deputy prime minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, four former ministers, and former head of the CIAA Deep Basnyat.

A version of this article appears in the print on January 11, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.