Nepal Today

Monday, May 30, 2011

WORLD BANK DOWN GRADING NEPAL PRESENCE

WORLD BANK CLOSING DOWN OFFICE OF NEPAL COUNTRY DIRECTOR
Kathmandu, 31 May: World Bank is closing down the office of its country director in Nepal, Madhusudan Paudel writes in Annapurna Post.
Only a contact office will be maintained.
The decision of the bank management is being presented to the board for endorsement in a few days.
Arrangement is being made to look after Nepal from its office in Dhaka.
Economists said the decision taken as an austerity measure is bad for Nepal’s economy.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari has been briefed of the decision.
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POWER ABUSE SLUR ON EX-CJ SHRESTHA
Kathmandu, 31 May: Former Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha has been accused of misusing judicial power to settle score with former Chief Commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Lalit Bahadur Limbu and ex-commissioner Beda Prasad Siwakoti., Ananta Raj Luitel writes in The Himalayan Times.

Years after CIAA ex-commissioners had decided to seize Shrestha’s land accusing him of encroaching government land, Shrestha directed government authorities to punish Limbu and Siwakoti for allegedly directing the government to register Thapathali-based public la-nd in name of individuals.

Issuing a judicial notice, the ex-CJ has directed the authorities to punish both for directing registration of public land in the names of Purna Bahadur Tandukar, Durga Tandukar and Nani Chhori Tandukar on March 30.

Responding to the judicial notice, parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC) directed the CIAA to punish its ex-commissioners, but the CIAA is yet to take action against them.

On November 24, 2008, the ex-commissioners had decided to seize the land registered in the name of individuals, including ex-CJ Shrestha. The commissioners had directed the Land Revenue Office Dilli Bazar to get back the land from Shrestha even after the apex court upheld the land registration in Shrestha’s name.

The CIAA order, obtained by The Himalayan Times, stated that Shrestha had encroached upon plot No 177 area 0-3-2-3 situated at KMC Ward No 32, Dhobikhola, divided from Baneshwor Mahadevsthan Ward No 5 Plot No 143.

“It seems individuals encroached upon land and got it registered. Even if the government’s land is registered in the name of anyone, it must be transferred to the government as per Section 24 (2) of the Land Revenue Act, 1977,” the decision stated.

A year later, ex-CJ Shrestha and his sons, Sanjeev Kumar Shrestha, Rajiv Shrestha and Ajib Shrestha filed a petition on May 30, 2010 claiming that plot No 177 was registered in their names as per the verdict of the Supreme Court. The other plots divided from Baneshwor Mahadevsthan Ward No 5 Plot No 143 are still sub judice in the apex court.

“He had encroached government land so we directed him to return it to the government,” Siwakoti told THT.

“Whatever we did was legally correct but I am surprised why he issued the judicial notice against us,” Siwakoti said.

He alleged that Shrestha had gathered evidences against him on his own and directed to punish him.

Limbu, however, declined to comment on the matter. “Since other cases similar to this case are still sub judice in the apex court I cannot comment on it,” he added.

Ex-CJ claimed he did not know anything about the CIAA order and the process initiated by LRO.
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MADESHI MORCHA KEY PLAYER IN POLITICS-

Kathmandu, 31 May: A day after the Constituent Assembly got an extension for three months, Madhesi leaders on Monday said Madhes-related issues will be the cornerstone of politics until the CA’s new deadline expires, Pranab Kharel writes in The Kathmandu Post..

There have been demands for greater inclusion of Madhesis in the national army and the civil service. The leaders have been demanding inclusion of 10,000 Madhesi personnel in the Army. In the run-up to the CA term extension, the alliance of five Madhes-based parties—Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha—played a crucial role in shaping the final five-point deal. Point 3 of the deal calls for effective implementation of past agreements struck with the Madhesi Morcha, including making the Nepal Army more inclusive.

The Morcha’s 71 lawmakers abstained from voting on the CA extension, saying that the five-point agreement did not categorically include their demands. One of their key demands has been to spell out the number of Madhesis to be included in the Nepal Army.

According to Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party leader Hridesh Tripathy, the decision to abstain from voting has shown that the big three political parties cannot impose their will on others and that the Madhes-based parties will have to be made part of the decision-making process.

In an interview to the Post published on Monday, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Ganatantrik Chairman Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta said the deal was possible because of the Morcha. He clarified that since the NC and the Maoists had been sticking to their guns, the Morcha proposed a middle-path, which made the deal possible.

On how the Morcha will take forward its agenda, Tripathy said it will be done through the CA, where they will try to incorporate the Madhes agendas in the statute.
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YOGENDRA MAN SHRESTHA FLEES TO INDIA AFTER RS.5 BILLION ROBBERY

Kathmandu, 31 May 31: Former chairman of Nepal Share Markets and Finance (NSMF) Yogendra Man Shrestha has been reportedly living in New Delhi and threatening NSMF promoters for their cooperation with the police investigations. Shrestha has been charged with embezzling over Rs 5 billion deposited with NSMF, Sundar KHanal writes in Republica. .

According to sources in the police department, a special investigation has been initiated to hunt down Shrestha. The police department is expecting necessary cooperation from the Indian authorities.
Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), the elite crime investigation body of Nepal Police, is handling the case. "Shrestha is still trying to outwit investigators by threatening the promoters of NSMF," said police officials, who also added that those receiving such threats initially did not want to complain to the police.

Shrestha had fled ostensibly to India immediately after Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) initiated action against him. NRB had ousted him from NSMF as per Bank and Financial Investigation Act and frozen his accounts and property following his refusal to show the central bank´s inspection team documents concerning various loans.

"He ran away after NRB decided to hand over the case to Nepal Police," said officials.

NSMF, a category D financial institution which has already raised its paid-up capital to Rs 2 billion and completed other formalities with an eye to upgrading itself to a commercial bank, has huge deposits of Nepal Army, Rastriya Beema Sansthan and Citizen´s Investment Fund totaling Rs 690 million.

Shrestha, in the capacity of chairman, was involved in irregularities and use of deposits for personal purposes. Nepal Police has also implicated Shrestha´s wife Geeta, a promoter of Macchapuchhre Bank, and their elder son and frozen all of their properties and accounts.

Shrestha also owns one Star Holding Company that has built a swanky business complex named Star Mall at Putalisadk.

The Central Investigation Bureau is preparing to file case against Shrestha as per Bank Offence (Punishment) Act 2064 BS. If convicted he could face 3-5 years jail and fine equal to the embezzled amount.

The case could also open the way for two other accusations against him as per Corruption Control Act 2059 BS and Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Act 2048 BS.
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