Police has nabbed Krishna Bahadur Raut, secretary at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, in connection with the Lalita Niwas land grab scam.
The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police arrested Raut from the domestic terminal of the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu on Sunday while he was about board on an aeroplane on his way to Biratnagar.
Earlier on Sunday, the CIB arrested former survey officer Dhruba Aryal and head of Samarjung Company, Lokhari Ghimire, in the same case.
The CIB had earlier detained 9 individuals in this connection. It had sought extension of their custody through the District Government Attorney Office, Kathmandu on Tuesday. The Kathmandu District Court granted extension of seven days on Tuesday for investigations on organized crime.
A probe committee led by former secretary Sharada Prasad Trital was formed after receiving complaints that government land at Baluwatar has been transferred to some individuals. The committee had submitted its report to the government in December 2018 saying that the land transferred to individuals belonged to the government.
The committee stated that the then king Mahendra after the coup in 1951 had confiscated 14 ropanis land belonging to Nepali Congress leader Suvarna Shumsher Rana and his son Kanchan Shumsher in Baluwatar.
The government four years later acquired 285 ropanis belonging to the Rana’s in Baluwatar by paying compensation. The prime minister’s residence, chief justice’s residence, speaker’s residence and the central office of Nepal Rastra Bank are currently housed in 172 ropanis out of the total 285 ropanis.
Land mafia making an alliance with the Land Revenue Office staff has transferred ownership of the remaining 113 ropanis of land to different individuals, according to the committee’s report.
CPN-UML leader and former finance minister Bishnu Paudel was also dragged into the scam as eight annas of land has been transferred in the name of his son Navin.
But Paudel and Supreme Court (SC) Justice Kumar Regmi have not been charged in the scam after they agreed to return the land acquired in the name of Paudel’s son Navin and Regmi respectively.
Regmi has claimed that he received the land for handling a case while working as advocate while Paudel has claimed that he bought the land.