KATHMANDU, Nov 13: Private sector leaders have slammed the decision to arrest industrialist Padma Jyoti, stating that the move would erode the confidence of the business community. The Kathmandu District Court had decided Monday to grant permission to arrest him. Jyoti is the chairman of Jyoti Group, a major business house of the country.
Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce, said the successive arrests of members of a family in a single fraud case do not give a positive message. “The government move would certainly deteriorate the confidence of the business fraternity,” said Shrestha, adding that the authority would have adopted an alternative measure than creating such havoc to address the issue.
Padma Jyoti is the former president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI). The court has permitted the arrest warrant against him on charge of cheating Rs 13.6 million rupees in a land transaction case filed by Bigendra Krishna Malla. Malla, who claims he paid Rs 12.60 million for a house in Kathmandu-3, Bansbari, said he was neither given a house nor a refund of money.
Earlier, the Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, had arrested Roop Jyoti and his daughter Suruchi Thursday night under the same charge. The Kathmandu District Court on Friday remanded the duo to police custody for three days.
Arun Gyawali, advocate of Jyoti Group, termed the arrest warrant against the family members as a plot by 'invisible hand'. “With some political backing, somebody is playing foul to tarnish the dignity of established entrepreneurs,” said Gyawali.
According to him, there was no point to arrest Padma Jyoti and his family members as they are not recipients of any money. “As Sambhu Phuyal, managing director of CE Construction had made the deal and also he had received the money without receiving retaining right from Jyoti family, it is inappropriate to arrest Padma Jyoti and his family," said Gyawali.
As per Gyawali, Phuyal had received the money from Malla on April 6, 2016 to construct a residential building on a land plot developed by Landmark Developers Pvt Ltd. After failing to hand over the committed property, the money was returned to Malla on December 1, 2018, three days before Malla filed cased at the Kathmandu District Court, according to Gyawali.
Gyawali claimed that Phuyal had also admitted before the High Court that he had received the money without taking the authority from the concerned party. “In these contexts, rendering arrest warrant against the innocent is unlawful,” he said.
Gyawali also pointed out the flaws in the procedures adopted by Nepal Police. “As per the law, Nepal Police is not authorized to make public the arrest warrant; instead it has to carry out investigation secretly before arresting the offenders.”
The district court had ordered arrest of Padma Jyoti about one year ago, but Jyoti moved the Supreme Court. The apex court had issued an interim order not to arrest Jyoti. But the police has recently made the move after the Supreme Court last week vacated the interim order.