Ramechhap's Manthali Municipality Mayor Ramesh Basnet has been embroiled in controversy yet again following reports that he had unilaterally distributed 50 million rupees received from the higher-ups among small projects.

Recently, as the issue of unilateral distribution of tens of millions of rupees was raised by executive members, it led to tension which also saw the minutes torn up. Tension flared after executive members, riled by the mayor's wanton ways, demanded that the meeting start only after reviewing the last meeting on the basis of its minutes.

This led to clamour and disruption of the meeting.

According to an executive member, the municipality members demanded that the past minutes and other related documents be reviewed over the mayor's act of disbursing tens of millions of rupees to minor and small projects close to his supporters and cadres.

At the meeting today, as the ward chairpersons and executive members sought review of the past documents, Basnet kept ignoring their demands for hours. As the dispute didn't end, participants informed Chief District Officer Lilaraj Poudel about disruption of the meeting over sought documents. "I had told them to continue the meeting following due course, saying the matter was out of my jurisdiction. Later, I heard that the minutes were torn in the meeting," said the CDO.

According to sources, Mayor Basnet had produced the sought minutes at the meeting hours later, after 4:00pm.

The meeting had started at noon. As the participants had found that additional pages showing the disbursement of 50 million rupees over some 90 small projects had been fraudulently pasted to the minutes, they had torn the minutes.

The issue was later resolved in the evening after Mayor Basnet apologised for his fraud, saying he was the only person responsible for the irregularity.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 22, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.