Monday, December 18, 2006

Nepal government goes heavy on defaulters

Passports of the defaulters to be seized and barred from transferring ownership or selling their fixed asset.
In an attempt to recover more than 32 billion rupees defaulted bank loan, the government has decided to seize the passports of all blacklisted willful defaulters. The government has also decided to bar them from transferring ownership of or selling their fixed assets.

The Rastra Bank had published the name of 53 willful defaulters this August who had defaulted more than 25 billion rupees from two government owned banks of the country Nepal Bank Limited and Rastriya Banijya Bank. However, the number will rise to nearly six dozens when this policy will be implemented initially for businessmen defaulting more than Rs 50 million.
Now, many top businesspersons from big business houses will be restricted from flying abroad or selling their property. However, blacklisted defaulters will be allowed to sell their fixed assets for the purpose of servicing their outstanding debts.
It seems like that the government has decided to go tough against those defaulters. It has also endorsed a seven-point plan of action to pressurize defaulters to pay their loan liability. As per the plan of action, those businessmen will be losing their credit and debit banking cards. They will also be barred from assuming the position of director or promoter of any company. They would not be allowed even to register a new company. Likewise, treasury bills and savings certificates owned by defaulters will be used only for repaying their loan liabilities. Defaulters are also prohibited from receiving medals and decorations provided by the state, and will not be awarded any public position.
Nepal government was widely criticized for not taking action against those willful defaulters. There were speculations that the government could not initiate action as many ‘renowned’ industrialists including Chairman of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries Chandi Raj Dhakal were also in the list. Dhakal’s Company Momento Apparels is the Fifth largest defaulter. (See: Evils of the nation: Top Ten defaulters uncovered )
The government has blacklisted 1,917 borrowers as willful defaulters whose outstanding debt amounts to nearly 32.23 billion by the end of fiscal year 2005/06.
However, there are doubts on the success of such policies. In response to government decision to publish the name of 53 large willful defaulters, the business community had organized a day’s nation wide protest on last September. In the scenario that such attempts have failed in past, there are questions whether this transitional government will not bow before those industrialists which are the perennial source on income for the political parties.
This article originally appeared on Everest Uncensored Blog on October 31, 2006. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Forgotten and forgiven evils: Top ten Corrupt Politicians

Wagle.jpgBoth sides agree to adopt policy to severely punish people amassing properties by means of corruption while remaining in government posts.”
The above mentioned lines are from Clause 3.11 of the Comprehensive Peace Accord signed by the Nepal government and the Maoists on November 21. On those lines, both the sides have expressed their commitments to severely punish those corrupts. However, the latest developments from politics to judiciary are proving that those words also may just be the high rhetoric. Both the sides have failed to convince people that they are really serious on punishing those evils. Some people have taken this as a commitment to punish those remaining in government posts during the Royal regime, while others have taken this just as a tool to eyewash the general public.

As time passes, it is human nature that the people forget and forgive the crime of anyone. Nepal’s Ranas who amassed billions of property from the state are still enjoying the state privileges at other parts of the world and even within the country with that money. Then the Palace coteries amassed billions and billions of rupees. That too, is forgotten and forgiven after the fall of Panchayat. Those corrupts were totally forgiven when a Judicial Inquiry Commission on Property, headed by Supreme Court Justice Bhairab Prasad Lamsal was formed some four years back. The Lamsal Commission submitted its report recommending strong action against some 2,000 persons remaining in the government posts after the restoration of democracy. Now too, the political system of the country has changed and it seems like that the corrupts of the multiparty democracy era will also be forgotten and forgiven any day; setting example that Nepal is the state of impunity. None will be punished.
The Everest Uncensored has been trying uncovering such evils to remind people so that at least they could point their fingers to them and say, you are enjoying with our money and some day, you will be brought to the book and punished.
In this series, the Everest Uncensored tries to uncover the top ten corrupt politicians and what sort of political and social privilege they have been enjoying. As many of those evils are the members of the House of Representatives and National Assembly, they have secured their position in the interim legislature as well as per the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and Maoist agreement. Thus the Nepalese are still not being free from those evils. Prospects loom large those evils may try to fish in the troubled water, taking advantage of the ongoing transition.
1. Chiranjibi Wagle
It is the single and record case ever in the history of Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority on which a prominent political figure was proved corrupt by the court. Wagle remained in key positions after Multi Party democracy. He is still a member of House of Representatives from Gorkha-1 so that his position is secured in the interim legislature as well. He was the Minister for Land Reforms and Management; during Krishna Prasad Bhattrai’s cabinet. He was Minister for Supplies in the cabinet headed by Girija Prasad Koirala in 1990 and Minister for Information and Communication in the cabinet headed by Sher Bahadur Deuba in 1996. He was also deputy to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in 2002. He was one of the key members to instigate Deuba on dividing the Nepali Congress in 2002.

Wagle was fined Rs.27.3 million and given a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence by a special court. The Commission for the investigation of Abuse of Authority accused Wagle of misappropriating over Rs.30 million by using his clout to bolster his son’s travel and trekking business, and of making false declarations about his assets. The court also ordered that the property Wagle had acquired illegally be confiscated.
Wagle and Khadka outside the CIAA.jpg
This was the first time in Nepal that action was taken against such a senior political leader. However, Wagle has been enjoying the dilly dally of Nepalese Judicial system. He immediately filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court which released him on bail. And now Wagle has begun to appear in the front of political arena. Though he resigned from the post of Party vice President, he is still the Ceotral Committee member of Nepali Congress (Democratic). Wagle, once a key member to divide Nepali Congress, is now forcing Party President Sher Bahadur Deuba to unite with Nepali Congress. Maybe, he is looking for another shield to conceal his misappropriated property.
(Pics: Wagle is seen talking to journalists in both the pitures. Two pictures carry two opposite meanings. At the pictures at left he is talking to the journalists at his residence in capacity of a Minister whereas on the next he is talking to journalists at the premise of CIAA after recording his statement,)
2. Govinda Raj Joshi
Govinda Raj Joshi was the Minister for Water Resources in Krishna Prasad Bhattrai cabinet in 2000. He was the Home Minister in the caretaker cabinet headed by Girija Prasad Koirala. He served as Minister for Education twice in 1991 and 1996.
Joshi under Koirala's bestow.jpg
Protecting Corrupts: Joshi is still close aide of Girija Prasad Koirala. So why Koirala can’t be spared from the allegations that he has protected corrupts and institutionalised corruption.
Joshi was supposed to have been involved in many scams. He was supposed to have benefited millions while publishing the result of the permanent teachers which was later annulled by the court. The CIAA had charged him of embezzling 3.93 million rupees. The CIAA sought a 13-year imprisonment, seizure of all illegal property and a penalty equal to the property he had amassed.
To the best of Joshi, the special court has acquitted him of all those charges. The CIAA petition has been quashed by the Special court. The court took the decision even without entering the facts, just for a reason that the case was not filed within the timeframe. The Special Court judges Bhupadhwaj Adhikari, Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra Shumsher Rana in their ruling have said that the case filed against Joshi did not even draw the attention of the court to enter the “facts” to make a verdict.
He is still a central member of Nepali Congress, and close aide of Girija Prasad Koirala. Joshi reserves the position in the interim legislature as he represents Tanahu-1 at the House of Representatives. May be, again people may reiterate his name as a Minister some day again.
3. Khum Bahadur Khadka
Khadka has also assumed many key positions in the governments after the Multi Party democracy. He was another key figure on instigating Deuba for Nepali Congress faction. He was Minister for Housing and Physical Planning; and Local Development in Krishna Prasad Bhattrai Cabinet in 2000. He was Minister for Works and Transport in the cabinet headed by Girija Prasad Koirala in 1991, Minister for Home in the cabinet headed by Sher Bahadur Deuba in 1996 and Minister for Supplies in the cabinet headed by Girija Prasad Koirala in 1998. Khadka also has the reserved position in the interim legislature as he is the member of House of Repreesentatives from Dang-1. He assumed the portfolio of Home Ministry in Deuba cabinet in 2002.
Khadka 1.jpg
The CIAA has filed several cases against this political player from western Nepal. However, Khadka has got the clean chit from the court. The recent verdict of his acquittal by the special court has come under controversy. A three-member bench comprising chairman of the Special Court, Bhupadhoj Adhikari, and members Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra Shumsher Rana had given clean chit to Khadka. The CIAA had charged him of embezzling 23.6 million rupees illegally during his tenure as the minister. (Pic: Khadka, once the powerful Home Minister is seen under police custody at the picture)
Khadka had got clean chit in the separate case as well. The CIAA had accused Khadka of embezzling Rs 40.5 million while awarding a work of Bakraha River Control Project to China Henan Company. However, the special court had acquitted him.
Khadka, once a key member to divide Nepali Congress, has now returned to the Nepali Congress, severing his ties with the Sher Bahadur-Deuba-led NC (Democratic); and is seen making gracious presence in the central Committee meetings of the Nepali Congress.
4. Rabindra Nath Sharma
The hard liner Royalist and Panchayat minister Rabindra Nath Sharma leads the list among the corrupt politicians. He has assumed the port folio of Finance Minister multiple times during Panchayat and after Multi party Democracy as well. The CIAA has charged Sharma of embezzling 41.5 million rupees. His case is under review at the Special court. However, there are speculations that he will also be acquitted in the same ground as the to former Ministers duo Khadka and Joshi were.
Sharma had become notorious for his speech at the public account Committee of House of Representatives in 1998 where he had readily accepted that the corruption and smuggling continued in the past, is still continued and will continue in the future as well.
After Royal takeover in February 2005, Sharma panel firmly supported the move. The group along under the leadership of another diehard Royalist and the then Home Minister Kamal Thapa forcefully captured the Rastriya Prajatantra Party. After the election Commission denied to recognize Kamal Thapa led faction, they have separately formed Rastriay Prajatantra Party Nepal and Sharma holds the dignified position of the Chairman. In recent days he has begun to claim position in the interim legislature and the government as well.
5. Kamal Thapa
This diehard Royalist since Panchayat era made a dramatic move in the multiparty democracy. He jumped into the Rastriya Prajatantra Party which was initially formed as an alliance of the Royal loyals. Thapa went on making playing his card game and succeeded on being minister for multiple times.
Kamal Thapa.jpg
After Royal takeover in February 1, 2005, Thapa changed his skin and kneeled before the King. As a result, he was able to resume the portfolio of the Home Minister in the Royal cabinet. Though he hasn’t been charged and convicted yet, he was notorious for 500 thousand rupees pocket money during his latest tenure as Home Minister. There were reports that he took the money every day during the staged municipal polls and later in people’s uprising, which didn’t need any receipts and place of expenditure. He is supposed to have been embezzling millions of rupees alone during this tenure; let alone his previous tenures.
After Royal takeover in February 2005, Thapa, along with other most tainted men Padma Sundar Lawoti and Rabindranath Sharma forcefully captured the Rastriya Prajatantra Party. After the election Commission denied to recognize the faction, they have separately formed Rastriaya Prajatantra Party Nepal and Thapa resigned as its chairman, paving way for no less corrupt Sharma.
6. Tarini Datta Chataut and Lauda Scam
He is the prominent personality behind Lauda scam that ever in the Nepalese parliamentary history made the House to continuously postpone for 57 days and finally end without single parliamentary session. Exactly from the point Nepalese parliamentary system lost people’s faith which finally paved the way for Royal takeover in 2002.
Chataut, the then Minister for Tourism and civil aviation, was charged of illegally operating and benefiting from the most infamous Lauda air procurement deals. The CIAA had claimed that the lease led to a direct loss of the RNAC of over 389 million and that should be compensated from the convicts. The case reached the Patan appellate court from where he was released in a bail of 2.1 million rupees. The case, after the establishment of Special court to look after the corruption cases, was transferred to special court. The Special court is yet to give verdict on the most infamous case. The delay on delivering verdict on such case is taken as a failure of the Special court. Chataut with the journalists.jpgThe speculations behind such delay are that the case also involves the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala who is the key figure in the national politics so far.
Chataut was supposed to be the close mate of Girija Prasad Koirala. He was also initially proposed as the Speaker in the House of Representatives which was later bagged by Taranath Ranabhat. The political debate was ignited when there were reports that the then Prime Minister Koirala hid him in his official residence when Patan Appellate court had ordered him to be present before the court.
(Pic: Chataut talking to journalists after recording his statement at the CIAA regarding Lauda scam.)
The far westerner Chataut is Still an MP and reserves a position at the Interim legislature. And still is an influential leader inside Nepali Congress.
7. Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta
This multiple time Minister was notorious not only for embezzling the state funds, but also curbing the media during his tenure as the Minister for Information and Communications. He was who barred the FM stations from broadcasting the News which was later followed to the best by the Royal regime.
CIAA accused Gupta of making more than Rs.30 million through illegal telecommunication deals, unlawful procurement of mobile phone sets and wrongful renewing of cinema licenses during his tenure. He was also charged and acquitted in a deal with the Kantipur Television Network for clearing the security bund of 25 million rupees.
This guy was a Congressman. As the Minister in Deuba cabinet, he was one of those who incited Deuba to divide party. However, later he became uncertain whether to follow Deuba too. That’s why he has taken the other communal slogan now. He has formed a party named Madheshi Jana Adhikar forum and is busy doing the communal politics. Still, gupta, as a member of House of Representatives from Saptari – 1, reserves position in the interim legislature.
8. Bijaya Gachchhedar
Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar served lately as Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation in Deuba government in 2002. He assumed same port folio in Krishna Prasad Bhattrai cabinet in 2000. He served as Minister for Information and Communication in 1992 and Minister for Works and Transport in 1996. As others Gachhadar also reserves a position in the interim legislature as a member of House of Representatives from Sunsari-2.
As the Minister in Deuba cabinet, Gachchhedar was also one among those who incited Deuba to divide party. Hence, he was able to reserve the post of Joint General Secretary of Nepali Congress (Democratic). Now, in line with other corrupts including Chiranjibi Wagle and Bal Bahadur KC, Gachchhedar is pressuring Deuba for Party unification with Nepali Congress.
Kc, shrestha and Gachhhadar.jpg
(Partners in crime: Gachhadar and Shrestha host a press Conference)
Here is an excerpt from a 1999 issue of a weekly that helps us find how notorious could have he been:
Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Bijaya Kumar Gachchhedar has been contacting various power centres to cover up his wrong doings. Gachchedar has been charged for taking financial benefit during his tenure as Minister for Works and Transportation. Presently, he has been charged for supporting and helping international smuggler.
News source says the INTERPOL has also been trying to arrest Gachchhedar. Similarly, an international gang has been threatening him that they would reveal all his past history if they don’t get the money demanded by them. Nevertheless Gachchedhar’s dark secrets have already been revealed.
(See: Khabarkagaj, Thursday, August 19, 1999)
9. Radha Krishna Mainali
This hard liner Communist who once raised arms against the establishment in 1971 and suffered many years in prison dramatically changed his stance and became the icon of feudal system. He was the leader of Left Front that co worked with the Nepali Congress to make the 1990 movement a success. His role on this movement was lauded. With the legacy of Jhapa uprising, he was elected at the House of Representatives multiple times and as an influential leader inside the Party, assumed the port folio of various ministries as well. However, his close aides had already begun to find rift on his stances. The party leaders and cadres were already skeptic about his activities. He was interrogated by Lamsal Judicial Commission on property followed by a CIAA investigation for amassing property illegally.
RK Mainali.jpg
(Royalty and the Loyalty: Mainali follows King Gyanendra at an inaugural function.)
Fed up with his diminishing influence inside the party, Mainali turned a royalist in latter years and subsequently was able to be appointed Education Minister in King’s cabinet. He was in the forefront on defaming the political parties during his 15 months term as the Minister. After the success of people’s uprising 2006, Mainali is seen nowhere. However, there are possibilities that he may, any day in the future, come out in the political arena as the Panchayat heroes changed their skin during multi Party democracy.
10. Gopal Man Shrestha
Gopal Man Shrestha was proposed as the candidate for Deputy Prime Minister in present government led by Girija Prasad Koirala. He has assumed the portfolios of Minister for Commerce, Forest and Soil Conservation and lately as the Minister for Physical planning and works in the current government.
Khanal-Rojin and Turpentine case shook the parliament in 2002. On the recommendation of CIAA the then minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Shrestha along with his State Minister Surendra Hamal, was fired for taking a bribe for approving a file of Khanal-Rojin and Turpentine Ltd.
Shrestha also reserves his position in the interim legislature as the member of House of Representatives from Syangja-2. He is also the vice President of Nepali Congress Democratic.
Shrestha has however succeeded on improving his public figure to some extent. During Party President Deuba’s imprisonment at the custody of Royal Commission for Corruption Control, he played an active role on behalf of Deuba during talks with the Maoists. He also actively participated in the people’s uprising 2006. There haven’t been any incidents of corruption reported during his current tenure.
None the Royal Ministers and the King’s coteries can’t be spared off this list. Those may include Satshitshumsher, Sharadchandra Shah, Ramesh Nath Pandey and hundreds others who have been embezzling state property since ages. There are as many as hundred politicians in the list of Everest Uncensored who have deceived the people who elected them to the parliament and paved way to the government. They have not only amassed huge property but also formed alliances with the Royalists to defame the multi party democracy. Such politicians are somehow more protected by Nepali Congress who still enjoy privileged position in the Nepali Congress. President Girija Prasad Koirala, though he succeeded on making King bow down before the public, is still protecting such corrupts. It was his tenure in the past which was full of many scams and he ever remained dumb towards such events. People say Koirala is not a corrupt. But people can’t forgive him as an institutionalizer of corruption.
The number is higher in Nepali congress Democratic. The Rastriya Prajatantra Party has very few people without the stains of corruption or illegal deeds. The CPN UML has also never been serious towards interrogating its comrades if how they could amass such large property.
In the given scenario, people are only hopeful about the Maoists. But they have also failed to assure the people. People have taken the extortion drive in the latter days as an indication to show how much the Maoists loved money. People don’t have much expectation with the Maoists either. However, the Maoists can only benefit from people’s sentiment that they hated corruption.
(This article is just an attempt to see the patterns of political corruption in the country. The persons in the list may not exactly fall on the same serial or more corrupt people might have been missed. )
This article originally appeared on Everest Uncensored Blog on November 29, 2006. 

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Citizen Journalism in Nepal

Rise of Citizen Journalism
Citizen journalism, also called "participatory journalism," is booming in the 21st century with the active participation of citizens in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of news. With the rapid growth in information technology (IT), the number of Internet users has skyrocketed, as has the number of Internet-based news media.
In recent years, IT has developed to such an extent that, like the mailbox, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have begun to provide separate Web sites for subscribers. In the beginning, such Web sites were used just as personal Web diaries and were accordingly called Weblogs. Weblog became "blog" and has turned into a vibrant medium of information exchange. People are using blogs to exchange information, subsequently challenging the mainstream media, in which a much more limited number of professional journalists try to cover the whole spectrum of news and opinions.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Evils of the nation: Top Ten defaulters uncovered

This year’s annual budget for Nepal’s 25 million population amounted just 143 billion rupees. However, 53 Business groups and individuals have defaulted 25 billion rupees with two largest banks of the country. The money was deposited at the banks by the individuals who worked hard to earn their two squares of meal. Those groups borrowed the money from Nepal Bank Limited (NBL) and Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB). Both the banks are the government owned and the money kept there is people’s trustee. But no serious measures have been opted to make the defaulters to repay the money so far. For the first time, Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank of the country made public the name of 53 largest defaulters this August.

Subsequently, the Parliamentary Account Committee (PAC) directed the central bank and the government to go tough against those defaulters. Nepal Bankers’ Association Credit Information Bureau has already enlisted 2912 willful defaulters till October 9 this year. And the number is increasing rapidly. Those people are enjoying with the people’s money but unwilling to repay it. These defaulters have posed challenges to the overall management of the economy. Experts say bad loan is the major challenge confronting the financial system of Nepal. Those defaulters have strong political connection that has been saving them since years from any action. In the past, the defaulters bargained with the Royal Regime and the regime excused them in return to their support to it. Past experiences have proved that blacklisting alone is not enough to deal with powerful defaulters because of their strong political and other connections.

However, after the Nepal Rastra Bank made public the name of 53 wilful defaulters with largest amount, the defaulters are making unnecessary hues and cries, siding responsibility to the ten years of conflict. Under the umbrella of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI), they are trying to overcome the prospective actions. People are concerned that, despite their failure to pay back the loans, they have been living a lavish life with high profile. After this incident, there has been growing controversy over the socials status of the defaulters and repayment of loan. The enlisted personalities still enjoy a significant social status and live a lavish life. Making public the name of those defaulters, Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, Bijayanath Bhattrai had said, “Even after being blacklisted, we have found no fundamental change in the lavish lifestyle of willful defaulters.”

Enjoying with the people’s money but resisting repaying the loans, is an evil task. The defaulted money amounts to nearly eleven billion rupees from ten groups alone. The everestuncensored has tried to dig out their social status so that the people could raise the fingers and say you are the EVILS OF THE NATION. Social restriction will be an answer to the crime of those defaulters who have been challenging total economy of the country.
Defaulter No. 1: The Amatya Enterprises (Pyush Bahadur Amatya Group)
Pyush Bahadur Amatya
Pyush Bahadur Amatya is the chief person of this group. This group has defaulted the largest amount, 3 billion 621 million rupees alone from the banks. The amount is exactly two times more than the amount of the second largest defaulter. And it is also the group with least chance of loan recovery. The group dealt with Electrical Equipment, Supplies and Component Manufacturing. Besides, the large amount of money was spent on Fulbari Resort and Spa at Pokhara. It was one of the largest business groups in the country. This group owns Amatya Enterprises that is an exclusive representative of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Japan, General Trading & Engineering, Nepal Power Eng. Co., Everest Ice Creams, Mt. Everest Brewery and Amtronics. It’s largest investment project is Fulbari Resort and Spa. The once shut Fulbari Resort and Spa has recently been handed over to a Resort Management Company named Blue Flag Nepal. However, none of these business are doing well now. The banks have predicted that it will be most difficult to recover loan from this group. And the Amatya family is still living a lavish life.
Defaulter No. 2: Mangatu Ram (Mangatu Ram Agrawal Group)
The second largest defaulter is Mangatu Ram group. This group has the default amount of 1 billion 820 million rupees from both the banks. This group owes 1.521 billion to Rastriya Banijya Bank and 0.124 billion to NBL. Mangaturam Agrawal is the chief Owner of the Mangaturam Group. He is aided by his five sons Subodh, Suresh, Krishna, Narayan and Damodar. The group took the loan from Rastriya Banijya Bank Rani Branch, Biratnagar. And after investigation, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed a charge sheet against those six Agrawal family members including six RBB officials on June 2005. The CIAA had concluded that RBB Rani branch had released Rs 867 million against a collateral worth Rs 168.64 million in 1998. And it charged them of incurring loss of 1.38 billion rupees as of April 2005. This has reached to 1.521 billion rupees including interest as of this July. Subodh Kumar, Suresh Kumar, Krishna Kumar and Narayan were arrested in connection with the scam on December, 2004 for failing to deposit bail amount demanded by the CIAA. However, Mangaturam and his son Damodar are still at large.
This group owned many enterprises including Narayan Vegetable, jayakali biscuit, ganesh Plastic, Annapurna soap, Laxmi footwear, Annapurna Iron, Dantakali, Fulpati enterprises and Ghatasthapana enterprises. Now, very few of the industries are under operation and the CIAA had concluded that there is the possibility of incurring only 145 million rupees from the security bond. So why, repayment of loan from this group also seems almost impossible.
Defaulter No. 3 Basulinga Sugar Mills (Chand Group)
Arun Chand
This is just ridiculous that the politicians are protecting the evil tasks. The worst example is the case of Basu Linga Sugar Mills. This has not only defaulted the people’s billions of money from the banks but also not paid the farmers with the cost of their sugarcane. And it is non other than the enterprise owned by Arun Chand, the son of Lokendra Bahadur Chand, the Royal loyal and the multiple times Prime Minister of the country. Another accomplice of this group is Vijaya Kumar Goel. This Group owes 1 billion and 26 million rupees to the two banks. It is one of the biggest industries of Nepal and now is on the verge of bankruptcy. It is situated at Kailali district and has remained closed since long time back. The sugarcane farmers claim that the mill management was yet to pay the outstanding dues of Rs. 40.4 million to some 4,500 farmers in Kailali district. The Mill used political influence to take the loan from various banks during the Panchayat era. And now, it seems almost impossible to incur the amount back.
Defaulter No. 4 Bir Kirat (Bir Bahadur Rai group)
Bir Bahadur Rai is the chief of this group. This group borrowed the money from Rastriya Banijya Bank to run Bir Kirant Group Narayanpur, Kailali and Kirant Traders Baluwatar . Nepal Bankers’ Association, Credit Information bureau had blacklisted this group in January 1991. The recovery of loan hasn’t been possible even in those fifteen years. And the loan now amounts to 852 million rupees. Now, none of these business institutions are making any business.
This group also invested on Durga Mill, Satti. Besides, Bir Bahadur Rai invested on Dantakali Jutta Chapal Udhyog, Dharan, in partnership with Bishnu Kumar Limbu, Harka Bahadur Limbu, Hemraj Rai, Indra Bahadur Thebe (Limbu), Indra Kala Thapa, Laxmi Bhakta Bantawa, Narendra Bahadur Gurung, Prasad Thebe and Prem Bahadur Kafle. This group also invested on Durga Mill, Narayanpur in partnership With Bam Bahadur Bhandari, Durga Kumari Rai, Prem Bahadur Bhandari, Ram Bahdur Kunwar and Ramesh Rai. Sarita Rice Mill, Satti Emporium, Sujata Trading, Sumnima Dal Udyog were also the partners in Durga Mill.
Defaulter No. 5 Momento Apparels (Chandi Raj Dhakal)
Chandi Raj Dhakal
Momento Aparels made an export of USD 12 million in the year 2000 that fell to 5.6 million in the following year. It exported 7.7m worth garment in 2002. It is the manufacturer and exporter of readymade garments. It was the top in 2000 and second largest exporter of Nepali garments by volume in following two years. It had the annual turnover of 1000 million rupees in those years. The company still holds top position in producing and exporting the garment. It is ridicule that, such well operating company stands fifth in the top bank loan defaulters of the country. And owes 709 million rupees to the Rastriya Banijya Bank.
The biggest ridicule is that the owner of the company holds the highest leadership of the business community in the country. The owner of the Company Chandi Raj Dhakal is incumbent Chairman of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI). It was set up by Dhakal in 1993 in partnership with a US citizen. However, Dhakal solely owns the company now. Ignoring to repay the bank loans, Dhakal has recently set up a Pashmina factory called Emperor Gold Mount, in Jhapa, and Beijing Roast Duck Restaurant in Kathmandu, both in joint venture with Chinese parties.
Defaulter No. 6 Maha Laxmi Garment (Brij Gopal Innani group)
Brij Gopal Innani is the founder of this group. He founded Mahalaxmi Garment Industries Group in 1980. It manufactures and exports the readymade garments. It has the annual sales turnover of USD 107 million. It was the third largest exporter of garment in 2000 with the value of 7.6 million USD. Despite significant turnover, the group has stood sixth in the list of largest bank loan defaulters. It alone owes outstanding due of 609 million rupees to the Rastriya Banijya Bank. This group also owns another industry named Girija Garment Industries.
Defaulter No. 7 Sanyam Veg & Oil
Sanyam Vegetable and Oil Industries is the seventh in the list. It owes 595 million rupees to the Rastriya Banijya Bank. It was the 14th in the list of top vegetable oil exporters in the year 2004/5 with the export of 160metric tons of vegetable oil. But now it is not doing any business. So why the sanyam group seems worst among the list from the perspective of loan recovery.
Defaulter No. 8 Mahalaxmi Sugar & Chemical (Choudhary and Kanaudiya Group)
Binod Kumar Choudhary
Photo: Binod Kumar Chaudhary
This is the joint venture with country’s one of the largest business houses. This group is promoted by the head of Chaudhary Group, Binod Kumar choudhary. This group also holds the most attractive social status as well. Another member of the group Birendra Kumar Kanaudiya is also an incumbent Member of the House of Representatives. He is a Nepali congress MP from Kapil Bastu -3. The Chairman of the group Lunkaran Das Choudhary is a’ revered’ industrialist in the country. He also holds Gold Star Nepal (Industries) (Pvt.) Ltd. Other members are Sarika Choudhary, and Muralidhar Agrawal. The group alone owes 516 billion rupees to the Rastriya Banijya Bank and the total due amounted to 1.38 billion by Mid April this year from five financial institutions of the country.
This group has been brought into controversy in the recent days. For the same case, the parliamentary Account Committee has recommended the Seven Party Alliance to impeach against those Supreme Court Justices who gave verdict in the favor of this group. The SC Justices Arjun Bahadur Singh and Badri Kumar Basnet had ordered Nepal Bankers Association Credit Information Bureau to delist the name of Binod Kumar Choudhary from the black list of bank loan defaulters. Choudhary had argued that as he had handed over the management of the Mills to Kanaudiya, his name be delisted.
In another account, Kanaudiya group also owes an outstanding due of 229 million rupees to Nepal Bank Limited.
Defaulter No. 9 Rohit (Rohit Prasad Shrestha Group)
This group is blacklisted by the credit Information bureau for many companies. Other members of this group are Chandra Laxmi shrestha, Sobhit Prasad Shrestha, Rahis Prasad Shrestha and Lal Prasad Shrestha. This group also owns Triveni pet containers, Bagmati Khandsari Sugar Factory and Rohit Brothers. It owes 490 million rupees to the Nepal Bank Limited.
Defaulter No. 10 Mahendra Sugar (Pathak group)
The Pathak group that owns Mahendra Sugar and General Industry is the tenth in the list. It owes 480 million rupees to the Nepal Bank Limited. The members of this group are Bimala Devi Pathak, maitra Devi Pathak, Prabin Dev Pathak and Santa Dev Pathak.
Following is the list of other ‘honored’ industrialists of the nation who could not come to this list but made their position in the top 53 in the August 15 release by Nepal Rastra Bank.
Defaulter no. 11. Universal Leather Industries Rs. 377 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 12. Kishore Pradhan Rs. 373 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 13. J.P. Group Rs. 368 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 14. L.P. Acharya Rs. 284 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 15. Drabyaratna Rs. 260 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 16 Tib Trade Rs. 256 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 17 Mohan Sahani Rs. 248 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 18. Greenwich Village Hotel Rs. 246 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 19. Baba Rs. 241 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 20 Kanaudiya Group Rs. 229 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 21. Brighter Rs. 219 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 22. New Mittal Rs. 195 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 23. Space Time Network Rs. 179 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 24. Lalbani Rs. 179 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 25. Nepal Professional Garment Rs. 177 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 26. Ashok Textile Industries Rs. 160 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 27. B.P. Lohani Rs. 160 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 28. Ram Kumar Bhadrapuria Rs. 156 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 29. Milan Group Rs. 154 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 30. PKSK Group Rs.153 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 31. Himalyan Brewery Limited Rs. 152 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 32. Prakash Tibadewala Rs. 143 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 33. Gorakhkali Rubber Industry Rs. 137 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 34. Vaishali Hotel Rs. 137 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 35. Hotel Oriental Rs. 125 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 36. Cross country Nepal Hotel Rs. 121 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 37. Dhaulisati Rs. 112 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 38. Nakarmi Group Rs. 109 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 39. N.K. Sarraf Rs. 103 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 40. Atmaram Group Rs. 91.3 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 41. Annapurna Textile Rs. 85 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 42. D and D Clothing Pvt. Ltd. Rs. 83 million (RBB)
Defaulter no. 43. Khatri and Company Rs. 70.6 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 44. Lalbani Group Rs. 50.7 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 45. Cross Country Nepal Hotel Rs. 41.1 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 46. Golcha Group Rs. 23.5 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 47. L.B. Shrestha Rs. 22.7 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 48. Hotel Tara Gaon Rs. 14.5 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 49. Jyoti Group Rs. 7.09 million (NBL)
Defaulter no. 50. Indrasen Agrawal Rs. 3.74 million (NBL)
(Three have been overlapped because above mentioned three out of top ten groups took the loan from both the banks)
(Source:, date of assessment Oct. 31, 2006/Also available in The Rising Nepal, August 16, 2006)
This article originally appeared on Everest Uncensored Blog on October 31, 2006.