Nepal anti-graft body acting tough on property mismatch

Kathmandu (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) - Most politicians, high-ranking civil servants, and police officers in Nepal, who are facing charges of amassing property disproportionate to their known sources of income, have submitted property details to the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).

The anti-graft body has been scooping out property details of around eight dozen political and bureaucrats following complaints against them. "We had asked them to fill out a 13-page questionnaire that demands details of their property. Most of them have returned it," said an official handling cases related to property.

In its effort to tighten the net around corrupt officials, the CIAA has asked the local revenue offices concerned to bar the accused from selling or buying land and other properties. Two AIGs of Armed Police Force-Ramesh Dev Bhattarai and Jeevan Kumar Thapa-and Ramesh Aryal, former Deputy Director General of Inland Revenue Department, have recently submitted details of their property.

Aryal, who had investigated a VAT bill scam, earned reputation as an official of highest integrity. "He submitted the property details requesting the CIAA to thoroughly and fairly investigate his case," said the official.

Both the AIGs were elevated to DIGs. Later, fingers were pointed at Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar for allegedly breaching seniority while promoting Bhattarai. According to sources, CIAA officials have been investigating the sources of their income in detail. In its first phase of probe into property mismatch, the CIAA issued a 13-page questionnaire for 86 politicians, bureaucrats, and police officers.

Agriculture and Cooperative Secretary Nathuram Chaudhary, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Commerce and Supply Chandra Ghimire and former Education Secretary Dipendra Bikram Thapa are among them.

Laxmi Dhakal, former Kathmandu CDO, who has recently been transferred to the Home Ministry, and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Nepal leader Renu Kumari Yadav are also under scanner as sources of their income remain unaccounted for.

The CIAA has assigned Joint Attorney General Badri Gautam to deal with the disproportionate property related cases, while chiefs of 10 departments under the anti-graft body are told to investigate corruption related cases separately.

More than 300 complaints on disproportionate property have been filed in the anti-graft body.

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