Anti-graft watchdog books Tatopani Customs Office chief

Kathmandu, December 13

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority today filed a corruption case at the Special Court against Chief of Tatopani Customs Office Krishna Bahadur Basnet, accusing him of embezzling Rs 10.56 crore during his service. The anti-graft body also named Basnet’s brother-in-law Nabin Kumar Gauli, Nabin’s wife Shakuntala Gauli, Nabin’s son Shulabh and Basnet’s wife Sabita Gauli Basnet defendants in the case for allegedly keeping money earned through corrupt practices in their names.

Basnet, who is an under-secretary, is a permanent resident of Shadananda Municipality, Bhojpur, and lives in Dhumbarahi, Kathmandu.

According to the charge-sheet, Basnet who joined the government service in 1989 earned Rs 1.78 crore by mid-July 2019 but spent Rs 3.13 crore in the same period — Rs 1.35 crore more than his legal income. The CIAA accused Basnet of receiving bribe from business persons and entities and depositing the money in his brother-in-law Nabin Kumar Gauli’s bank account. Gauli is a resident of Khandbari, Sankhuwasabha.

The anti-graft body accused Basnet of depositing Rs 92,152,792 in the bank accounts of his brother-in-law Gauli, other relatives and some businesspersons during his service. Gauli, who received money from Basnet, purchased land plots and later returned those land plots to  Basnet, stating in the land purchase deed that he gifted the land plots to Basnet.

CIAA said Gauli purchased almost 100 ropani land in Khandbari, Sankhuwasabha, and invested Rs 10 crore in Arati Hotel while Basnet served as an employee at Biratnagar Customs Office.

The CIAA said it named Basnet’s wife a defendant for the purpose of seizing the property that Basnet kept in her name. Similarly, the CIAA named Gauli’s wife and son defendants for the purpose of recouping the embezzled money from them.

If convicted, Basnet will be punished with jail sentence and fine equal to the embezzled amount.