Lalita Niwas land grab: 12 convicted, Gachchhadar acquitted

NL Today

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Kathmandu: The Special Court on Thursday convicted 12 individuals in the Lalita Niwas land embezzlement case. A joint bench of judges consisting of Khusi Prasad Tharu, Ram Bahadur Thapa, and Ritendra Thapa not only found these twelve persons guilty but also ordered the sequestration of land registered and transferred under the names of 65 individuals.

Dhan Bahadur Karki, spokesperson for the Special Court, announced that the verdict not only required the return of the land but also mandated the recovery of losses incurred due to the embezzlement of Lalita Niwas public land.

According to the court’s ruling, the convicted individuals include Ram Kumar Subedi, Shova Kant Dhakal (owner of Bhatbhateni supermarket), Min Bahadur Gurung, former secretaries at the land ministry Chhabi Raj Pant and Dip Basnyat, and even members of the Subarna Shumsher family. Others among the convicted are Kaladhar Deuja, Surendra Man Kapali, Yukta Prasad Shrestha, and Jagat Prasad Pudasaini.

A total recovery of Rs 19.6 million has been ordered, to be collected from former secretaries Chhabiraj Pant and Dip Basnyat, as well as former employees of the land revenue office and land reform office for the embezzlement of 19 ropanis of land.

Meanwhile, the court cleared then Minister for Physical Infrastructures Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, then Ministers for Land Reform Dambar Bahadur Shrestha and Chandra Dev Joshi of involvement in the case. Similarly, then Secretary Dinesh Hari Adhikari was also acquitted. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed a corruption case at the Special Court on February 5, 2020, stating that 113 ropanis of public land at Lalita Niwas had been transferred and registered in the names of individuals.

The CIAA had listed 175 defendants, including four former ministers and three former secretaries in this case.