KATMANDU, Sept 13: The government is preparing to remove controversial Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) Managing Director Gopal Khadka after a high-level probe committee recommended action against him. Top ruling party leaders including Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Tuesday hinted at booking Khadka for his involvement in flawed land procumbent deals.
A probe committee headed by Supplies Secretary Krishna Prasad Devkota on Monday evening recommended to the government to take action against Khadka for his involvement in the scam over land procurement in various parts of the country.
"The Office of the Prime Minister has sought details from us. The secretary-led committee has already forwarded the report [Monday evening] to the Prime Minister's Office," said Supplies Minister Shiva Kumar Mandal to Republica, adding, "The report has pointed out some irregularities in the land procurement. And the cabinet can take action on the basis of the report."
Minister Mandal said the government is studying various other probe reports and it will reach a conclusion soon.
Parliament's Industry, Commerce and Consumer Rights Protection Committee had concluded on Monday that the then leadership of the Supplies Ministry, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and other officials were involved in embezzling millions while buying the land. It has also recommended legal action against all those involved in the scam.
The House committee had stated that the top leadership of the ministry, the chairman and other officials of the NOC board and other NOC officials involved in the land procurement, those participating in the tender process, local level officials and staff at the land revenue offices in the districts concerned were found to be responsible for embezzling a huge amount.
Also, the CIAA (Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority) has been investigating the scam.
Following parliament's instructions to take action against Khadka, a board meeting of NOC recommended to the government to take action against its MD (Khadka) on the charge of indulging in the multi-million rupees land procurement scam.
The NOC board headed by Supplies Secretary Krishna Prasad Devkota had recommended action against Khadka after concluding that the MD's decision to purchase land in collusion with land brokers caused a huge loss to NOC. Khadka and his team had purchased huge chunks of land in Chitwan, Rupandehi, Jhapa and Sarlahi for the purpose of fuel storage, said NOC officials.
The land procurement deal was kept secret until media reports exposed it and the price paid for the land is said to be around four times higher than current market prices. The parliamentary committee has concluded that Khadka and his team had embezzled at least Rs 1.5 billion while procuring the lands.
Soon after recommending action against Khadka, Secretary Devkota left for China Monday evening to attend a function scheduled for Wednesday. With this recommendations, the onus is now on the minister whether to proceed with action against Khadka.