The Ilam bench of Biratnagar High Court has paved the way for arrest of CPN leader Revat Raj Puri accused of transferring 50 bighas of government land of Baluwatar in Damak to his name.
A joint bench of Justice Atul Bista and Justice Dinesh Yadav hearing the petition filed by Puri demanding the arrest warrant issued by the Jhapa District Court on January 9 not be immediately implemented on Monday has refused to issue an interim order.
"The court hearing the petition filed by Puri demanding an interim order to not arrest him has said nothing should be done immediately," Registrar at the Ilam bench of High Court Navaraj Dulal told Setopati.
Puri had absconded after the Jhapa District Court issued an arrest warrant and moved the Ilam bench through a representative.
The Area Police Office Damak has been investigating Puri on a forgery and dupery case after he transferred government land worth billions of rupees to his name.
Police say Puri has fled to India and is staying at a bordering city. Police say investigation has been started against Puri and his relatives but refused to divulge details about them. "We cannot reveal the names now as that can affect investigation," DSP with Damak Police Bijay Raj Pandit told Setopati.
The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police that investigated the case has already found 15 bighas out of the 50 bighas land transferred to Puri and his family members. Damak Police started investigation on Puri after the CIB handed over the investigation report to Jhapa Police.
Puri has been found to have kept the government land in name of others including a auto-rickshaw driver. Eleven bighas of the land has been transferred to Om Prakash Paudel of Pathri Sanishchare who earns a living by driving auto-rickshaw.
Police claim that Puri convinced Paudel to help him by offering to give two katthas of land. Both Puri and Paudel are former Maoists.
Police had arrested Paudel and lodged a case. He has been released on a bail of Rs 375,000 by the court.
The CIB team while searching documents at the Land Revenue Office in Damak had found that government land of Baluwatar was transferred to Puri's name. The land initially transferred to Puri has been transferred to other individuals after sale.
Damak Police is now investigating who the land has been transferred to.
Around 88 squatter families used to stay in the land captured by Puri. The process to give the land to squatters had started as per the land reform policy. But Ratuwa river changed course and entered the squatter settlement 36 years ago.
The land came out after course of Ratuwa was changed by the government by constructing embankments. Puri transferred that land to his name after that.