Man accused of fraud is CEO of Nepal Ban Nigam Ltd

Published On: February 9, 2022 01:15 PM NPT By: Bhasa Sharma

KATHMANDU, Feb 9: Rameshwor Bhattarai, who was convicted of fraud and sentenced to two years imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 250,000 by the Supreme Court on August 8, 2016 but was on the run, is currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nepal Ban Nigam Ltd, a state-owned company.

Bhattarai had defrauded 26 students studying at Sagarmatha Education Institute at Jawalakhel, Lalitpur by taking money to get them involved in the SLC examination. He had collected Rs 581,300 from the students saying that he would give them an opportunity to participate in the SLC examination of 2005.

Meanwhile, the erstwhile government led by KP Sharma Oli appointed Bhattarai as the CEO of Nepal Ban Nigam Ltd on 19 September, 2021. According to Rule 87 of the District Court Rules, the accused who have not completed the punishment and paid the fine as per the decision of the court are barred from receiving all services from the state. However, instead of being deprived of state services, the then government appointed Bhattarai as the head of the corporation.

A case was filed against Bhattarai at the Lalitpur District Court after the students including Raju Bikram Thapa filed a joint complaint against him. The decision made by Lalitpur District Court on 10 December, 2006 and High Court Patan on 7 February, 2010 against Bhattarai was endorsed by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had ruled that the total amount swindled from 13 student was 257,500 rupees. “As the decision made by High Court Patan on 7 February, was correct, the decision of the High Court that the defendant Rameshwor Bhattarai pay the fine and the plaintiff get the claimed money is endorsed by the Supreme Court,” according to the Supreme Court decision. A joint bench of Supreme Court justices Baidyanath Upadhyay and Cholendra Shamsher Jabra delivered the verdict on 8 August, 2020.

Similarly, police have not arrested Bhattarai though he works at a public office. The situation of impunity in the country has become clear as the government has appointed the accused, who is on the run, to a government post.

Ved Prasad Upreti, Director General of the Judgment Execution Directorate of the Supreme Court, said that a letter was sent to the Ministry of Forest and Environment with instructions to arrest Bhattarai immediately. “It is not mandatory for the government to ask the court while appointing people. We have written to the body concerned to bring the convict to the court wherever he is found,” he said. He said that it was very easy to evade the decision made by the court as there was no practice of citizenship tracking in Nepal.

Questions have been raised as an absconding convict has been working as the CEO of a public body for seven months and the police have done nothing.

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