CIAA summons 86 individuals over Lalita Niwas land scam

Published On: June 27, 2019 06:30 AM NPT By: Matrika Dahal

As the three-generation identities of 59 individuals recognized through a cabinet decision as tenants of Lalita Niwas land could not be established, it is suspected that fake tenants were created to illegally grab the land.

KATHMANDU, June 27: It has emerged that the land mafia created fake tenants to illegally grab Lalita Niwas land, as the three-generation identities of nearly five dozen individuals involved could not be established.

Separate investigations carried out by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and the Central Bureau of Investigation of Nepal Police show that the land mafia created fake tenants as their citizenship certificates and permanent addresses could not be verified.

The CIAA and CIB concluded that the tenants were fake because their investigations could not establish the three-generation identities of 59 various tenants including Nati Maharjan, Laxmi Narayan Maharjan and Kanchha Maharjan. They were provided a stake in the land after establishing their tenancy rights through cabinet-level decisions. Lalita Niwas was duly acquired by the government along with some other Rana palaces.

The land mafia subsequently brought the land under their names and sold to third parties. According to records maintained by Dilli Bazar Land Revenue Office, the 59 unidentified tenants hold 76 various plots of land belonging to Lalita Niwas.

We will move ahead as per the law if the accused fail to present themselves within the deadline: CIAA Spokesperson Pradip Koirala

CIAA Spokesperson Pradip Kumar Koirala said they have issued a week's deadline through a public notice on Wednesday to 86 individuals including the owners of Bhatbhateni Supermarket and the Goyal Group to present themselves before the CIAA for recording their statements as they had snubbed repeated previous calls by the anti-graft bodies.

“Should they choose to ignore our call, we will move forward with the investigations as per the existing laws of the land,” he said, adding that the investigations had already neared a conclusion.

Officials at the CIAA said their investigations are currently focused on establishing a possible nexus with incumbent or retired government officials.

Over half a dozen business houses and General Secretary of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Bishnu Paudel are found to have bought the land from the land mafia, who transferred government land to private individuals by creating the fake tenants .

The CIAA is currently investigating the role of government employees serving at Dilli Bazar Land Revenue Office and at the Department of Land Revenue, Department of Survey and the Samarjang Company under the Home Ministry, in the transfer of the land ownership.

The kin of Subarna SJB Rana, the purported tenants, the land mafia and land revenue officials succeeded in transferring the ownership of the land that was acquired by the government against due compensation between 2021 BS to 2028 BS.

Land mafia duo Ram Kumar Subedi and Shobha Kanta Dhakal and Bhat Bhateni Supermarket chain owner Min Bahadur Gurung, among others, had transferred the ownership of the land to their own names in 2049 BS.

A probe committee formed under former secretary Sharada Prasad Trital has disclosed that the ownership of the land was transferred with the involvement of a then prime minister, ministers, secretaries, and officials at land revenue and survey offices in Kathmandu.

Both the CIAA and CIB have been investigating the land grab case for the past three months.

The government had acquired a total of 299 ropani 9 aana and 3 paisa of 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 refused to support King Mahendra's introduction of the party-less Panchayat system, it is learnt. Rana's descendants claim that all the land was confiscated by the government.

A cabinet meeting on March 12 decided to bring 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.

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