The Kathmandu District Court has ordered the release of two of the accused in the Baluwatar land grab case and extended the custody of 18 others by five days.
According to Superintendent of Police Nawaraj Adhikari, spokesperson for the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), the court on Wednesday ordered the police to continue investigation on Lok Hari Ghimire, the then chief of Samarjung Company, and Dharma Prasad Gautam, the then officer at Dilli Bazaar Land Revenue Office, without keeping them in custody.
The court has, however, ordered them to be present in court on the day of registering the case, Adhikari added.
“They are old. The court ordered their release for treatment. They have been asked to come on the day of submitting the case,” Adhikari said. “They have not been acquitted. They are still under investigation, but they have been ordered to be released only because they are old.”
On August 3 the court had ordered the CIB to release Ramesh Kumar Pokharel, former chief of Samarjung Company, and Siddhika Khetan on guarantee.
Pokharel was released owing to his poor health while Khetan was released as she was not found to have played any role in the land grab.
The court has granted permission to the CIB to keep 18 others in custody for five more days.
Bhatbhateni Supermarket promoter Min Bahadur Gurung, former election commissioner Sudheer Kumar Shah, Dharma Prasad Gautam, former chief of Samarjung Company Lok Hari Ghimire, fake tenant Dev Narayan Maharjan, the then survey officer Dhruba Aryal and Gopal Karki are currently in CIB’s custody.
Similarly, the then ward secretary of Kathmandu Metropolitan City-5 Shivaji Bhattarai, fake tenant Baburaja Maharjan, the then Survey Office employee Ghaman Kumar Karki, the then assistant accountant of Samarjung Company Binod Paudel, the then senior divisional engineer at the Ministry of Physical Planning Bal Krishna Shrestha, the then director general of Department of Land Management Rudra Prasad Shrestha, the then Land Revenue Office employees Yograj Paudel, Narayan Das Mishra, Sakulnanda Maharjan and Sanjay Maharjan are in police custody over their alleged involvement in the land grab scam.
Keshav Tuladhar was initially arrested in connection with the fake Bhutanese refugees scam. The CIB arrested him in the land grab case soon after the Kathmandu District Court released him on bail.
The CIB had also arrested the then chief of Dilli Bazar Land Revenue Office Kaladhar Deuja in the land grab case on June 27. But Deuja was released after it emerged that he and 16 others had already obtained stay orders against their arrest.
The CIB had then applied with the Supreme Court for vacation of the stay orders. Deuja was arrested again following the Supreme Court’s order.
Similarly, police had arrested the then Survey Department employee Arun Kumar Shrestha in connection with the land grab.
The CIB had also arrested Krishna Bahadur Raut, secretary at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Raut had then filed a habeas corpus petition at the Supreme Court. He was released after the apex court issued a mandamus ordering that he be released on date pointing lack of reasons to keep him in custody.
A total of 143 annas of land at Lalita Niwas at Baluwatar is found to have been transferred in the names of various individuals in different stages. The CIB has obtained arrest warrants against more than 400 people in connection with the case till date.