November 2, 2017 07:12 AM NPT
By: Dilip Poudel
KATHMANDU, Nov 2: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has started field study regarding the issue of irregularities in buying land plots for setting up fuel storage facilities by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) in four districts.
The CIAA started collection of records from the field after finding some suspicious transactions while studying some documents related to the procurements. After designating investigation officers for the purpose, the CIAA team started enquiring the concerned land owners and stakeholders at the local level.
CIAA Spokesperson Jibraj Koirala informed that the CIAA team has already left for the districts to study the issue of NOC land procurement row.
“The CIAA team has already started in-depth field investigation into the NOC land buying issue. The team is now gathering evidences at the local level,” said Koirala.
According to CIAA officials, the anti-graft body has been looking into the legal grounds, land procurement rate, the rate given to the land owners and the geological condition, among other issues, during their investigations.
While buying land plots in Chitwan, Rupandehi, Jhapa and Sarlahi districts, the NOC was found to be paying four times more amount than the actual price of land in collusion with the local middlemen.
Different parliamentary committees concluded that around Rs 1.5 billion was embezzled while buying the land plots.
The CIAA team tasked to study the issue has already inspected the land plots bought at Lothar, Chitwan and on the bank of Rohini River in Bhairahawa. The team reached Jhapa and started discussions with locals on Wednesday. CIAA sources said the team will inspect the area in Sarlahi on Thursday before returning to the capital.
A cabinet decision of the government in September had decided to sack NOC Executive Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka on charges of embezzling over a billion rupees in the land buying deal upon the recommendations of parliamentary committees and the Ministry of Supplies. The Supreme Court afterward stayed the government decision of sacking him until the final verdict.