Nepal | July 12, 2020

Land grab cases to be probed

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, April 13

The government has decided to investigate land grab cases across the country after the Sharada Prasad Trital-led committee, which investigated land grab cases in Baluwatar area, recommended similar probes across the country.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s Press Adviser Kundan Aryal said the government would investigate other land grab cases across the country.

The Trital-led committee, which termed the transfer of ownership of many land plots in Baluwatar area to members of late Rukma Shamsher Rana’s family and his relatives illegal, recommended action against government employees involved in those transfers.

The report states that comprehensive reforms should be launched within the Ministry of Land Reform Management as its role was found deficient during the transfer of land plots.

The report has implicated a number of Land Office staffers and recommended investigation of their involvement in land grab cases.

The report recommends CIAA investigation of erstwhile secretary of MoLRM Chhabi Raj Panta and officials involved in writing notes and furnishing opinions on the basis of which the Nepal-led government took the decision as these officials appear to have abused their power It also calls for probe into the roles of erstwhile chief of LRO, Dillibazar Kaladhar Deuja and other responsible staffers who prepared notes and furnished opinions related to case files of 1024 and 1025 of LRO, Dillbazar as these files were missing from the record.

Decisions on files related to transfer of land plots in the name of Rukma Shumsher and his relatives were taken on 2 December 2010.

Some employees who signed the document did not mention their names and some employees’ short signatures did not match the signature put on the attendance book.

The report seeks probe into the role of erstwhile Chief of LRO, Dillibazar Hari Krishna Timsina who, in the course of implementing the 14 May 2010 decision of the Nepal-led government, allowed transfer of ownership of government, public and guthi land, as he appears to have abused his power.

The report also states the CIAA should prosecute LRO, Dillibazar officers Tikaram Ghimire, Hupendra Mani KC, survey officers Mohammed Sabir Hussein, Shrihari Pudasaini, second class non-gazetted officer Shyam Kumar Chhetri who were involved in the LRO decision taken of 16 May 2005 and 17 May 2005 that allowed registration of omitted land in the name of individuals, which constituted an abuse of power.

CIAA action has also been recommended against erstwhile chiefs of Samarjung Company Arjun Prasad Bhandari, Chiranjivi Adhikari, Lokhari Ghimire, and Ramesh Kumar Pokharel as they did not protect public land or update the record of information and concealed facts with the motive of assisting the land mafia.

CIB probe has also been recommended against Shobha Kant Dhakal and Ram Kumar Subedi who influenced LRO, Dillibazar employees to register land belonging to the government, public and guthi in the name of their family members and other individuals.

“These land mafia might have grabbed land in other parts of the country as well,” the Trital-led committee states.

In short, the report calls for probe of officers and employees who worked in LRO, Dillibazar, office after 1990.

The committee’s findings also blame erstwhile chief secretaries for forwarding the line ministry’s proposal to the Cabinet meeting without evaluating the legal validity of the proposal.

It also says the MoLRM did not determine whether the land in question was excess land.

It further says the LRO, MoL- RM, Land Reforms Management Department and Survey Office failed to monitor and supervise the work of their subordinate offices.

It also points the finger at the MoLRM for failing to monitor whether or not its subordinate offices had maintained records of government, public and guthi land.

Complaints were lodged in 2001 seeking investigation into alleged land grabs but no action was taken on those complaints.

Panel’s suggestions

  • Documents confirming receipt of compensation given by government to landowners should be kept secure
  • Alternative to Guthi (Trust) Sansthan should be sought
  • Government should keep guthi related offices under it
  • Guthi land should not be sold to individuals.
  • The Madhav Kumar Nepal-led government’s decision that facilitated validation of transfer of public land to individuals should be revoked.

A version of this article appears in print on April 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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