DHANGADHI, April 27: Hundreds of bighas of government land in Bhimdatta Municipality of Kanchanpur have been illegally encroached upon, sold and leased, according to an investigation report by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). Stating that some people have amassed immeasurable wealth by arbitrarily abusing hundreds of bighas of government land, locals have started a protest against such practice.
Despite repeated complaints from the locals, no action could be taken against those involved in illegal occupation of government land due to their political and economic clout. A special team led by Joint Secretary of the CIAA, Om Prakash Baral reached Mahendranagar in August last year and started the investigation after receiving strong criticism from the locals.
CIAA Chief of Mahendranagr, Ram Bahadur Kurungwang, said that there was massive corruption and more than 400 people were involved in the land grab case. "It has been found that public land in Mahendranagar has been sold arbitrarily against the rules and regulations," he said.
In the first phase, a case has been registered against 111 people at the Special court. As it is difficult to collect evidence, cases will be registered against the remaining people gradually, according to Kurungwang.
He said that it would take another two years to register a case against the remaining 300 people after gathering the required evidence.
The CIAA claims that various public office-bearers, employees, land purchasers, encroachers and hired persons are involved in corruption. Locals are hoping that the government land will be returned and action will be taken against the culprits after the CIAA team conducts a detailed investigation and registers the case.
Authorities have registered corruption cases against Paltu Rana, Gopal Rasaili and Kanturam Paneru, who served as chairpersons of the municipal development committee. Separate cases have been filed against 64 people including Rasaili, 25 people including Rana and 22 people including Paneru. The CIAA has demanded a penalty of Rs 29.4 million from Rasaili, Rs 7.31 million from Rana and Rs 2.97 million from Paneru. Similarly, Rs 30 million was demanded from the then Land Revenue Office’s Nayab Subba (non-gazetted first class government official) Pushparaj Bhatt, Rs 38 million from another junior land survey official Tuladatta Joshi and Rs 149.81 million from Visan Singh Thapa.