KATHMANDU, April 16: Dozens of individuals including officials at the land revenue office and brokers have gone out of contact after a probe commenced on the transfer of government land at Lalita Niwas, Baluwatar into private ownership.
The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police and the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) have started investigations against two land brokers and 20 chief land revenue officers at Dillibazar Land Revenue Office in connection with transfer of ownership of about 114 ropani belonging to Lalita Niwas.
The suspects may be on the run following investigations by the authorities and by a high-level commission formed by the government under former secretary Sharada Prasad Trital, said sources at the CIB.
A cabinet meeting on March 12 had decided to reclaim the transferred land and take legal action against those involved in the scam. A three-member probe committee formed under former secretary Trital has recommended action against businesspersons who were able to grab the land through their connections with those in positions of authority.
According to CIB officials, land agents Shovakant Dhakal and Ram Kumar Subedi remain out of contact and their cell phones were switched off when attempts were made to reach them for inquiries. “The agents and their families were not at home either when we sent out plainclothes investigation officials,” said sources at the CIB. Dhakal and Subedi are accused of selling the land to some businesspersons in collusion with those who once held the land.
Similarly, then chiefs of Dillibazar Land Revenue Office Kaladhar Deuja and Tikaram Ghimire, land revenue officer Hupendra Mani KC and other officials suspected of involvement in the land transfer have also gone out of contact, said the sources.
The CIB has been also investigating all those who headed the Dillibazar Land Revenue Office between 2047 and 2073 BS as they were found assisting the ‘land mafia’ transfer ownership of the 114 ropani to various individuals.
Police are investigating them on charges of organized crime, forgery and faking government office stamps and signatures. The government had acquired Lalita Niwas back in 2021 BS after paying due compensation to its then owners.