KATHMANDU, April 28: Minister for Land Reform and Management Padma Kumari Aryal has defended the ruling Nepal Communist Party General Secretary Bishnu Paudel saying that he had legally purchased the land belonging to Lalita Niwas.
Speaking at an interaction in the capital on Saturday, minister Aryal claimed that NCP leader Poudel's son Nabin legally purchased the land through a businessman.
“Poudel family was not involved in the land encroachment because they purchased it from the valid land owner,” she said.
Paudel has been facing criticism for possessing eight aana land in Lalita Niwas which was illegally transferred to individual ownership from the government property by land mafia.
A government probe committee has recommended scrapping private ownership of the land stating that it was illegally registered to the private ownership. The panel has pointed out to Shobhakant Dhakal and Ram Kumar Subedi as the masterminds behind the land encroachment and transaction scam.
The government has barred transactions of 113 ropani and 3 aana land belonging to Lalita Niwas, including the plot owned by Paudel after finding that it was government property. Some land mafia had managed to transfer the ownership of the land in collusion with officials at the Dilli Bazar Land Revenue Office and the District Land Reform and Survey Office among others. Similarly Min Banadur Gurung, promoter of Bhatbhateni Supermarket, has been found to be involved in possession and transaction of a huge portion of the land.
Gurung, Dhakal and Subedi had purchased 63 ropani of the land in 2060 BS from the family of Rukma Shumsher Rana. Since 60 ropani exceeded the ceiling on land holding by one individual, Rana had decided to sell it off in smaller pieces to those at the centers of power and influence.
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police have been carrying out separate investigations on illegal transfer of the land ownership.