Former chief commissioner of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Deep Basnet has given statement in relation to the Baluwatar land grab.
“We all should take the issue of Lalita Residence land to conclusion once it became a national issue. I have discussed it to make it clear,” Basnet told Setopati. “It is also my duty to make things that I know clear. You may call it statement or clarification.”
He revealed that he gave statement to investigation officers of the constitutional anti-graft body for two and a half hours on Friday.
Basnet had taken the proposal for expansion of the Prime Minister’s residence, exchange of land inside and outside the compound during expansion among others when he was secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Planning.
He pointed he has already put his views through statements. He had issued a statement around six weeks back claiming that he took the proposal for expansion of the PM’s residence under instruction of the then PM Madhav Kumar Nepal and his minister Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar.
The probe committee formed by the government under former secretary Sharada Prasad Trital has called the Cabinet decisions illegal and recommended their revocation.
The committee had submitted the report to the government in December 2018 concluding that the land transferred to individuals belonged to the government.
The committee had advised the government to ask the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police to investigate how ownership of the land was transferred to individuals and investigate the state of such government land across the country.
CPN General Secretary Bishnu Paudel has been dragged in the scam as eight annas of grabbed land (plot number 309 and 3015) has been transferred to son of from Uma Dhakal and Madhavi Subedi, wives of Shobha Kanta Dhakal and Ram Prasad Subedi identified as land mafia by the Trital committee.
Some CPN leaders citing the then prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal have told Setopati that Paudel facilitated Cabinet decisions to provide grounds for the land grab and had even arranged donation of Rs 40 million to the party in return for the decisions.
The committee stated that the then king Mahendra after the coup in 1961 had confiscated 14 ropanis land of Nepali Congress leader Suvarna Shumsher Rana and his father Kanchan Shumsher in Baluwatar. The government four years later acquired 285 ropanis of Rana’s land in Baluwatar by paying compensation.
The PM’s residence, chief justice’s residence, speaker’s residence and the central office of Nepal Rastra Bank are currently situated in 172 ropanis out of that 285 ropanis.
Land mafia in connivance with staffers at the Land Revenue Office has transferred ownership of the remaining 113 ropanis of land to different individuals, the committee has concluded. The land owned by Paudel is out of that 113 ropanis.