Kathmandu, June 26
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority today issued a notice in Gorkhapatra daily summoning 86 individuals to record statements in Lalita Niwas land grab case.
A probe team led by former government Secretary Sharada Prasad Trital had recently submitted its report to the government in December, claiming that individuals had illegally grabbed 299 ropani land in Baluwatar.
The report also accused the family of late Nepali Congress leader Subarna Shamsher Rana of grabbing government land, a charge members of the Rana family have denied. The Trital-led team has also said that members of Subarna Shamsher Rana’s family had reclaimed even those land plots that had been legally acquired by the Panchayat government in the 1960s.
Post 1990 democratic era, the Rana family was allowed to reclaim their land that had been forfeited by the Panchayat government for their involvement in the movement for democracy. The Trital-led panel’s probe report indicates that Land Revenue Office, Dillibazar, colluded with them to return even those land plots that had been acquired legally by paying compensation to Rana’s family.
The CIAA has issued the notice as per Section 43 of Prevention of Corruption Act, asking 86 individuals to appear before it within seven days to answer some queries related to complaints that employees of Land Revenue Office, Dillibazar, colluded with individuals to fraudulently transfer the ownership of government land to individuals and to establish individuals’ tenancy rights on government land.
CIAA Spokesperson Pradeep Kumar Koirala said some names repeatedly appeared in the list of 86 persons mainly because the CIAA issued notice on the basis of land plot numbers and those persons held multiple land plots.
Koirala said CIAA published notice only for those people who could not be contacted by the anti-graft body for any reasons. When asked why the CIAA did not issue notice to other high-profile personalities, including Nepal Communist Party (NCP) General Secretary Bishnu Paudel, Koirala said, “I cannot give you details of persons who have been probed by the CIAA, but the CIAA publishes notice only for those people it cannot contact during the investigation.”
The Trital-led panel, which termed transfer of ownership of land plots in Baluwatar to members of late Rukma Shamsher Rana’s family and his relatives illegal, recommended action against government employees involved in those transfers.
The Trital-led committee recommended probe of the roles of erstwhile chief of LRO, Dillibazar Kaladhar Deuja and other responsible staffers who were suspected of fraudulently transferring ownership of government land to individuals.
The report states that some employees who signed the document did not mention their names and some employees’ short signatures did not match the signatures put on the attendance book.
The Trital report adds that the CIAA should prosecute LRO, Dillibazar, officers Tikaram Ghimire and Hupendra Mani KC, survey officers Mohammed Sabir Hussein and Shrihari Pudasaini and second class non-gazetted officer Shyam Kumar Chhetri for allowing registration of omitted land in the name of individuals, which constituted abuse of power.
The panel also recommended action against former chiefs of Samarjung Company Arjun Prasad Bhandari, Chiranjivi Adhikari, Lokhari Ghimire and Ramesh Kumar Pokharel for failing to protect public land or update record of information and concealed facts in order to assist the land mafia.
Action was also recommended against Shobha Kant Dhakal and Ram Kumar Subedi who allegedly influenced LRO, Dillibazar, employees to register land belonging to the government, public and guthi in the name of their family members and other individuals.
A version of this article appears in print on June 27, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.