Shobha Kanta Dhakal, who has been indicted in the Lalita Niwas land grab scam, was denied bail by the Special Court today and sent to Dillibazar prison.

The decision to send Dhakal to judicial custody until any evidence proves otherwise was taken by the bench of judges Abdul Aziz Musalman, Balendra Rupakheti, and Chandra Bahadur Saru.

The court 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 Shobha had done everything to purchase Lalita Niwas land plots in her name. The court also said that some people, including Land Revenue Office, Dillibazar, had recorded their statement saying Shobha had visited the office to enquire about Lalita Niwas land purchase deal. The CIAA has accused Shobha of embezzling Rs 39 crore.

Earlier in December, the SC had also sent former chief commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Deep Basnyat to judicial custody.

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 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 February 11, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.