Khadka grilled over NOC land dealsThe Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority on Tuesday interrogated Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) Managing Director Gopal Khadka, who has been deputised at Supply Ministry, regarding the controversial land purchase deals.
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority on Tuesday interrogated Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) Managing Director Gopal Khadka, who has been deputised at Supply Ministry, regarding the controversial land purchase deals.
The anti-graft body has initiated detailed investigation into the case after top NOC officials faced charge of irregularities while buying lands in Chitwan, Bhairahawa, Jhapa and Sarlahi districts at ‘highly inflated’ prices through middlemen to build oil storage facilities.
The CIAA started interrogating the NOC board members, starting with Khadka.
“We interrogated Khadka on Tuesday as part of the probe into the case as he is one of the top officials involved in decision making,” said CIAA Spokesperson Padam Prasad Pandey, adding that the interrogation will continue on Wednesday. “Other board members will also be grilled simultaneously,” he said.
Last week, the CIAA had interrogated half a dozen NOC staffers, including Managers Pushkar Karki and Shailendra Bhusal and Deputy Manager Arjun Poudel.
Before grilling the NOC staffers and top officials, the anti-graft body had conducted a field study to gather information on possible irregularities in the land deals.
A source at the CIAA said they had found discrepancies between payments made to the landowners and the actual amount that the NOC paid out in the land deals.
Pandey said that they had gathered information from over 200 people, including landowners, middlemen, erstwhile secretaries of local bodies who were involved in the deals and local people.
During the field study, a sub-committee under the Industry, Commerce and Consumer Welfare Committee of the erstwhile Legislature-Parliament had found that the NOC paid 3-4 times more than the going rate for the swathes of land.
Hinting at collusion, the sub-committee found that local government staffers had recommended “artificial price”—much higher than the amount quoted by bidders—for the land plots so that the NOC could show that the plots were purchased at a lower rate than the actual market price.