Sajha explores legal options as government demands Rs 3 billion back along with interestCompany’s chief executive says authorities must back the decision with a ‘solid reason’.
Ten days after the government announced it was taking back money it gave to Sajha Yatayat to buy electric buses, the company says it is exploring its legal options.
The government invested in the company by buying shares worth Rs 3 billion, it did not provide the amount as a grant or a loan, said Bhushan Tuladhar, chief executive officer of Sajha Yatayat.
“The government bought our shares. Initially, there were discussions on giving us a loan,” said Tuladhar. “But we refused to take it as Sajha does not have any outstanding loans so far,” he added.
In a surprise move, the Cabinet on January 23 decided to take back Rs 3 billion the government provided the cooperative for buying 300 electric buses alleging that Sajha failed to procure the buses on time. However, Sajha denies the allegations.
The Cabinet decision came six months after the government allocated Rs 3 billion for the purpose. The money was transferred to Sajha on July 18—only two days into the fiscal year 2019-20.
“The government cannot simply ask for interest on the money because that’s money Sajha earned. You cannot take away someone’s income. Also, the government should inform us first why it decided to take back the money with a solid reason.”
However, Tuladhar did not reveal the legal options his company was considering as Sajha Yatayat is yet to receive a formal notice from the government. “Whatever we know so far is from media reports. We are yet to receive any formal correspondence from the government that we have to return the money,” said Tuladhar.
The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport admitted that it has not formally informed the company about returning the money to the government. “We should be formally informing them [Sajha Yatayat] about the latest matter, but we have not,” said Devi Prasad Gyawali, joint secretary with the transport ministry told the Post. “The ministry will notify them soon.”