#Lalita Niwas land-grab scam

SC continues detention hearing on Lalita Niwas land-grab case

Published On: July 20, 2023 01:10 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 20: After the detention hearing of those arrested for investigation in the Lalita Niwas land-grab case was postponed, it is still under consideration on Wednesday. As there are many lawyers who have to be given time to put forward their arguments, the hearing on the land-grab scam that started from Sunday continues in the court. The Supreme Court has said that the debate on the writ petition regarding habeas corpus before the joint bench of Justices Prakash Kumar Dhungana and Nahakul Subedi will continue on Thursday.

As the new  fiscal year has begun, in the courts across the country, including the Supreme Court, hearings are being conducted only on habeas corpus and important petitions. In the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the writ petition  regarding habeas corpus for the ones who were involved in the case of Lalita Niwas land grab was scheduled. However, the case is getting prolonged due to the unending debate.

Those arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CIB) in the Lalita Niwas land-grab case approached the Supreme Court with a writ petition of habeas corpus. Separate writ petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court claiming that detention without reason is illegal. Former Commissioner of Election Commission Sudhir Kumar Shah, Secretary of Ministry of Communication and Information Technology Krishna Bahadur Raut, Bhatbhateni department store owner Min Bahadur Gurung were arrested in the same case.

Apart from that, the CIB has issued arrest warrants against 406 people and is investigating the case under organized crime. The police have arrested various accused persons and kept them under investigation.

Similarly, the vacate application filed by the CIB in the Supreme Court demanding the annulment of the interim order related to the Lalita Niwas land case has also been under investigation in parallel. The Supreme Court had issued an interim order to 17 accused in the forgery case of Lalita Niwas land grab.

On August 4, a single bench of Justice Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada issued an interim order not to arrest  the 17 accused. The CIB, which is investigating the case of forgery of government land grab in the name of an individual, filed a vacate petition on Tuesday demanding the cancellation of the interim order passed by the Supreme Court. The same writ petition was heard by the Supreme Court together with the habeas corpus cases filed by those who are being prosecuted on the same matter.

The CIB had initiated the process of arresting those involved in the Lalita Niwas land grab case for investigation. At that time, the accused filed a writ petition against the government on July 20, 2022, making the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Ministry of Home Affairs, Attorney General's Office, Police Headquarters, Kathmandu District Court, District Public Prosecutor's Office, CIB and Samarjung Company Baluwatar as defendants. On January 6, 2022, after the District Public Prosecutor's Office returned the investigation report with 34 points of 'instructions', CIB has been saying that when they tried to arrest the accused, they were stopped due to an interim order passed by the Supreme Court.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse and Authority (CIAA) has already registered a case against the then minister and secretary on the charge of registering the government land of Lalita Niwas in Baluwatar in the name of an individual. The CIAA has already registered a corruption case against 175 people in the special court on February 5, 2020.


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