KATHMANDU, April 11: Various banks and financial institutions issued billions of rupees in loans with land at Lalita Niwas as collateral, it has emerged. Lalita Niwas had already been acquired by the government with due compensation for the previous owners.
New facts have emerged showing that nearly a dozen banks and financial institutions issued billions in loans and the collateral was land that had passed illegally back into the hands of Rukma Shumsher Rana and others in 2060 BS and was subsequently sold onwards by them.
Sources at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police, which are currently conducting investigations into the matter, said Nepal Investment Bank, Century Bank, Sanima Bank, Global IME Bank, Nepal Bank Limited, Prabhu Bank and Kasthamandap Development Bank, among others, issued the loans.
According to details provided by the investigation , these financial institutions loaned billions to promoter of Bhatbhateni Supermarket Min Bahadur Gurung and land brokers Shobhakant Dhakal and Ram Kumar Subedi -- considered to be the two masterminds in the public land scam.
Investigation officials are currently looking into whether the loans have been settled or not. They are also looking into what the loans were meant for.
“It is seen that the land, whose ownership was illegally transferred by the land mafia through the Land Revenue Office, was used to take loans from various financial institutions and banks,” said the sources. “We have also come to learn the names of the financial institutions that issued the loans. Exact details will become available after thorough investigations.”
SP Umaa Prasad Chaturbedi at CIB said he is unable to speak about the people involved in this controversial issue as the investigation is currently still underway.
A cabinet meeting on March 12 decided to bring the illegally transferred land back under the name of the government. Any sale of 113 ropani and 3 aana of controversial land at Lalita Niwas has already been stopped by Dillibazar Land Revenue Office.
But since billions in loans have already been issued against these lands, there is confusion what will now happen to the loans. Although exact details are not yet available , preliminary investigations show that businesspersons and the so-called land mafia could have invested the loans in other properties or in their businesses.
The government in 2022 BS had acquired a total of 299 ropani 9 aana and 3 paisa land at Lalita Niwas , Baluwatar owned by Subarna Shumsher Rana and his family .
Of the total land acquired from them, only 14 ropani and 11 aana was acquired without paying compensation as Subarna Shumsher and his son Kanchan refused to support King Mahendra's introduction of the party-less Panchayat system, it is learnt.
Land brokers in collusion with land revenue officials and former government secretaries and ministers are found to have grabbed 114 ropani of the land between 2047 BS and 2073 BS.1,298 ropani of six palaces acquired in 2021 BS
It is also learnt that the government acquired a total of 1,298 ropani at six Rana palaces against attractive compensation to the owners some 54 years ago.
According to details published in the Nepal Gazette by Government of Nepal Secretary Bishnu Mani Acharya in 2021 BS, the government acquired six different palaces in Kathmandu Valley.
Details given in the Gazette show that the government acquired Mahabir Bhawan in Naxal where Nepal Police Headquarters is now located (154 ropani, 4 aana and 2 paisa land) , Harihar Bhawan (240 ropani 1 aana, 2 paisa) in Pulchowk, Sita Bhawan, i.e. Bal Mandir, (119 ropani 12 aaana and 3 paisa) in Naxal, Laxmi Niwas, i.e. Bairabnath Batallion premises, (258 ropani, 14 aana) in Maharajgunj, Lalita Niwas, i.e. Prime Minister's Official residence premises (274 ropani, 14 aanaa and 3 paisa) in Baluwatar and 240 ropani,5 aana and 3 paisa at Babarmahal .