Criminal Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police on Thursday chairman of CG Holdings, Arun Chaudhary, who is also the younger brother of Binod Chaudhary, Nepal’s only billionaire in dollar. Arun was arrested for illegally transferring 10 ropanis of land belonging to Bansbari Leather and Shoe Factory situated at Bansbari in the outskirt of Kathmadu to the ownership of Chandbagh School, owned by him.
Two other persons including then executive chairman of Bansbari Shoe Factory Ajit Narayan Singh Thapa were also arrested in the land grab scam.
According to spokesperson of CIB Navaraj Adhikar, Chaudhary and two others were arrested for necessary investigation in connection with the land grab scam. Meanwhile, Kathmandu District Court gave permission to the police to detain the duo for four days under judicial remand to carry out necessary investigation into the scam.
Arun’s elder brother Binod Chaudhary, who is also a Nepali Congress Lawmaker, may also be dragged in the land grab scam and therefore, he has remained silent regarding the matter, say observers.
Arun has been accused of embezzlement of 0.5 hectares of land and transferring its ownership to Chandbagh some three and a half decade by utilizing his high political connections. Besides, Chaudhary and Thapa, Sanjaya Thakur, director of CG Chandbagh Residency was also arrested in the land grab scam.
Chaudhary had established Champion Footwear Company and succeeded in transferring 10 ropanis of land belonging to the government owned shoe factory to its name. The land was transferred to Chandbagh without any government decision, according to the CIB. However, in August 1986 (during Panchayat era) Thapa, wbo was executive head of the Bansbari Shoe Factory decided to transfer the ownership of the land to Champion Footware which was dissolved a couple of years later.
There is media report that after the arrest of Arun, Sunil Thapa, advisor to the President, mobilized political pressure to release him. According to observers, there is family connections between Thapa and Chaudhary since Panchayat era.
When SB Thapa was the Prime Minister during the time of national referendum under King Birendra’s rule, he sought financial assistance from Chaudhary Group to campaign in favour of Panchayat system. In return, Thapa is learnt to have provided protection to Chaudhary group to conduct its business, whether they be legal or illegal. Since then, the Chaudhary Group got uplifted in business arena of Nepal. There is a popular saying that don’t ask a billionaire from where he got his first one million dollar.
The government’s action against Chaudhary in the land grab case is worth appreciation. But it is yet to be seen whether the investigation into the land grab case gets aborted in mid-way as in many other cases, or not.