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Central Investigation Bureau arrests Arun Chaudhary, brother of Nepal''s sole billionaire

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By Binod Prasad Adhikari

Kathmandu | February 2, 2024 12:23:36 AM IST
Nepal''s Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) on Thursday arrested Arun Chaudhary, chairman of CG Holdings and brother of Nepal''s first and only billionaire-Binod Chaudhary on charges of unlawfully seizing government land.

As per the CIB officials, Arun Chaudhary has been arrested from his residence in Lazimpat of Kathmandu who later in the evening was presented to Kathmandu District Court. The court has given 4 days detention of Chaudhary. Following the arrest of Arun Chaudhary, the CIB also has arrested Ajit Narayan Thapa, former Board Chairman of Bansbari Leather Footwear Industry, the government-owned defunct company whose land has been converted to private by Arun and his associates.

AIG Kiran Bajracharya, the head of the CIB confirmed the arrest of Arun Chaudhary and Ajit Narayan Thapa to ANI over the phone. The investigation revolves around the alleged government land grabbing at the Bansbari Leather Shoe Industry, with the CIB actively probing the case.

Simultaneously, a complaint has been lodged with the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in connection to these accusations. Arun Chaudhary has been accused of being involved in illegally converting 10 ropanis of public land belonging to the Bansbari Leather and Shoe Factory as private property.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had earlier initiated a probe into the alleged occupation of the government land by Chaudhary Group, formerly belonging to the Bansbari Leather and Shoe Factory.

There has been no comment from CG Holdings and Nepal''s sole Billionaire Binod Chaudhary after arrest of his youngest brother.

In 2043 BS, the government allocated 10 ropani of land from the then Bansbari Leather and Shoe Factory to Champion Footwear Limited, owned by Chaudhary Group, citing financial losses incurred by the factory. However, the land was not sold, and instead, 25 per cent share ownership was granted to Bansbari Leather and Shoe Factory. Documents reveal that the Champion Footwear,designated to manufacture shoes on government land, only operated for threeyears.

Subsequently, Chaudhary Group acquired 25 per cent shares in the name of Bansbari Leather and Shoe Factory, asserting sole ownership of the land. They transformed Champion Footwear Limited into a private company named ''Champion Footwear PvtLtd'' at the Registrar''s Office.

Chaudhary Group, having sole ownership of the 10 ropani land, rebranded it as ''CG Chandbagh Residency Pvt. Ltd.'' The land is currently hosting Chandbagh School, an investment of Chaudhary Group. The CIAA earlier sent a letter to the Ministry of Finance, requesting detailed information on the matter as the investigation progresses. Finance Ministry sources stated that theywere actively studying the issue following the CIAA''s instructions, acknowledging itshistorical significance.

The Finance Ministry stated, "This issue is important. As per the instructions of the Commission, we have initiated the study." The CIB had earlier issued an arrest warrant for Arun Chaudhary following a court order.

On August 26, 1986, he purportedly acquired 10 acres through a business partnership with Ajit Narayan Singh, the owner of Bansbari Leather Shoe Factory. The company, supposedly set to produce one million shoes annually, held 2500 sharesof Bansbari Leather Shoe Factory, excluding any share for Chaudhary''s brothers. This decision was made in accordance with the elder brother''s directive.

Chaudhary registered the footwear company on October 27 of the same year. Despite legal ownership of Chandbagh by Binod Chaudhary, a dispute persists over the land''s rightful owner. (ANI)

 
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