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MoS initiates action against guilty in NOC land purchase scam

KATHMANDU — The Ministry of Supplies has initiated an action against those including Gopal Bahadur Khadka, chief of Nepal Oil Corporation, involved in land acquisition scam of the state-owned oil monopoly.

The MoS has submitted its final report on the controversial land purchase deals of the of the state-owned oil monopoly to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, recommending action against Khadka and other officials involved in the scam.

According to Minister for Supplies Shiva Kumar Mandal, the next Cabinet meeting, to be held on Monday, will most likely take a decision on the ministry’s recommendation.

An investigation conducted by the MoS, has found NOC Managing Director Khadka’s involvement in irregularities while purchasing land plots in four districts — Chitwan, Jhapa, Rupandehi and Sarlahi.

Sources at the OPMCM said that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, in a meeting at the OPMCM last evening, voiced concerns about irregularities identified in the process of acquiring plots of land for development of fuel storage facilities and involvement of government officials in the scam.

A probe panel of the Legislature-Parliament had submitted a report on Monday stating the involvement of high-level officials including of the MoS, the then chairman of NOC board, chief of NOC management, bidder for NOC’s land acquisition and the then secretaries of VDCs in financial irregularities while purchasing plots for developing fuel storage facilities in the country.

Action against Khadka and other officials has been recommended based on the findings of the ministry’s investigation.

The report said the NOC paid three-four times the going rate while buying the land plots in different locations and pointed to collusion between NOC officials and local government staffers.

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According to the report, the NOC board had spent Rs 850 million each to purchase 15-20 bigha land in Jhapa, 15 bigha land in Bhairahawa and 20 bigha land in Chitwan. Likewise, it spent Rs 100 million to buy four-five bigha land in Sarlahi.