KATHMANDU, Feb 7: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an interlocutory stay order in favor of businessman Ajaya Raj Sumargi, allowing him to use Rs 2 billion which was transferred from a foreign bank and subsequently frozen by Nepal Rastra Bank.
A single bench of Justice Tej Bahadur KC issued the order on condition that the amount would not be taken to any foreign country and it would not affect a money laundering case involving the amount.
The bench also summoned the government authorities and all other stakeholders in the case for February 14 to discuss whether or not to extend the stay order.
Stating that there was no valid ground to stop the amount from being used, the apex court has also said that the decision of the central bank to freeze the amount was having an adverse effect on Sumargi's industrial activity.
A total of Rs 12 billion was transferred to the accounts of different companies owned by Sumargi from the countries including Mauritius, Cyprus and other countries in 2010 as foreign direct investment. An amount of Rs 8 billion was already withdrawn from the bank accounts of Nepal Investment Bank Limited and Nabil Bank while the order allows Sumargi to use Rs 2 billion. Another Rs 2 billion still remains frozen in the bank accounts.
The Nepal Rastra Bank had frozen the amount citing the lack of valid source of income for it. Seeking the intervention of the apex court, Subas Chandra Paudel, the authorized person of Nepal Satellite Telecom Pvt Ltd had moved the apex court on Sunday with the writ petition.
In 2010, Nepal Rastra Bank froze the amount, which was transferred from Cyprus, Mauritious and other countries at the request of the Department of Industries. The department said that the amount was not supported by any valid source of income.
According to government authorities, the amount, which also includes a portion of loan, was received without following the due process of bringing in foreign investment. Bringing in any foreign investment requires permission from the authorities concerned after a through process but the money was received without any formal process, sources privy to the issue told Republica.
Sumargi is said to be close to former prime minister and Chairman of CPN (Maoist Center) Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The latter had repeatedly tried to get the money released from the banks despite a huge controversy but had not succeeded in doing so.