Fate of a King: Poor and Powerless Overnight

By Ameet Dhakal
News Editor, the Kathmandu Post

gyanendra king of nepalThe Shah Kings, through royal decree, usurped power and amassed wealth umpteen times during the last 238 years. But today (15 Jan) people have turned the tables on the monarchy: By proclaming a constitution invoking their sovereign rights the people have made the reigning king both poor and powerless overnight.

The king will no longer act as head of state – let alone exercise any political power. Significantly, the constitution has also snatched away a major chunk of the royal assets. According to the interim constitution, property belonging to the late King Birendra will go into a trust and the property inherited by King Gyanendra by virtue of ascending the throne will be nationalized. But the king will continue to enjoy his private property, including his businesses. How much does the king own in business? Contrary to popular perception, The Kathmandu Post investigation revealed that he owns “very little”

The common perception that the king is “super rich” comes from an assumption that he owns a majority share in the Soaltee Group, which does not exist any longer. However, the investigation also revealed that he owned only a “miniscule” share in the Group’s businesses that expanded rapidly over last two decades. Before being dismantled in December 2005, the Group had nine business enterprises in its fold: Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd, Bhotekoshi Company Pvt Lt, Himal International Power Corporation, Sipradi Trading Pvt Ltd, Gorkha Lawrie Pvt Ltd, Himalaya Goodricke Pvt Ltd, Amaravati International Pvt Ltd, Maersk Nepal Pvt Ltd and Amaravati Travels Pvt Ltd. Out of these nine enterprises, Gorkha Lawrie was sold off in 2004.

Now a majority of these enterprises are owned and managed by Tara Management, which belongs to Prabhakar Sumsher Rana and his son, Siddhartha Rana. Records at the Office of the Company Registrar show that the king and his family own only 0.15 percent share in Himal International Power Corporation; 56 percent in Himal Goodricke, 40 percent in Soaltee Hotel and 10 percent in Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd.

But the king and his family have no share in Bhotekoshi Company Pvt Ltd, Sipradi Trading Pvt Ltd, Amaravati International Pvt Ltd, Amaravati Travels Pvt Ltd and Maersk Nepal Pvt Ltd. Among the enterprises that the king has a share in, both Soaltee Hotel and Himal Goodricke are currently loss making ventures. While Soaltee Hotel, a public limited company, hasn’t distributed any dividend for the last six years, Himal Goodricke has paid out about Rs 1.5 million as dividend during the last one decade. The only company that seems to be paying a significant dividend to the royal family is Surya Nepal. Last year it paid Rs 12.5 million to the family.

A source privy to King Gyanendra’s financial situation said, “The income from his [king’s] businesses is hardly enough to meet his expenses.” The source also said the king often withdrew dividends from the companies in advance. This claim has a lot of credence since officials at the Kaushitosh Khana – the office that disburses state sanctioned funds to the royal palace – also said the palace used to withdraw all annual allocations within 48 hours of the budget announcement till last year.

The source also claimed that King Gyanendra was neck deep in debt by the time he ascended the throne in June 2001. “In 2002, he sold 10 percent of his stake in Surya Nepal to Indian Tobacco Company Ltd and used the proceeds to repay his huge debt.” In terms of share capital, the king and his family have Rs 80 million worth of share capital in Soaltee Hotel; Rs 6.5 million in Himal Goodrick; Rs 33.6 million in Surya Nepal and Rs 250 thousand in Himal International Power Corporation.

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43 thoughts on “Fate of a King: Poor and Powerless Overnight”

  1. I think this is more relevant here.

    As the blogger here suggests King move on Feb 01 was indeed seminal to bring the Maoists into political fold and we should be grateful to the King for that. Else, the Maoist murderers would have murdered 15000 more fellow Nepalese and still fighting on. See what is happening in Sri Lanka. After more 700000 deaths the fighting is still on.

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  2. kantipur Publications is strange despite beign called “very professional” by its insiders– I just went to ekantipur and searched for King’s property and there were heaps of results that helped sway the public opinion against the King as it lead the public to believe, contrary to what Ameetji is reproting here, that the King had amassed huge amount of property- much of which even using illegal means like snatching property of the Late King Birendra etc– I couldn’t find any reference to the Publication house, professional that it is, trying to inform the people about this reality– that the King may in fact be in debt…Fox news loves to call itself fair and balanced– it is time, Kantipur Publication stole that tag line…

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  3. I don’t think He is poor and Powerless. He is still the king and lives in the Royal Palace. Until the new parliament chooses the President and declare the country as the People’s Republic of Nepal, He will remain relevant.

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  5. this is a strage why Kantipur is publishing such factless article. Why didn’t kantipur publish news of rinochers poaching and diplomatic people’s and state protection in the smuggling.

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  6. How much has Kantipur amssed blackmailing people, businessmen and industrialists? Could Mr. Wagle tell us how much NGOs and the Indian Embassy pays you to run this blogsite?

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  7. to be or not to be that is Hamlet. Give it a break and let the people do their job, I am fully confident after the elections we choose what u choose. Then when everyone can write, do the referendum I think I said that how many years ago. I am always fleeing. It’s a lifestyle.

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  8. Kantipur has shown its true colors time and again. Simply put its called Yellow journalism. Rather its a mouthpiece for all the wrong foreign embassies and wrong propoganda & reasons. I swear they do it inetntionally to tear this nation apart under guise of journalism but in fact they are nothing but paid henchmen to power that be- foreign or local to destroy Nepal by Nepali and from Nepali.

    Hats off to your effort, you have partly succeeded- just get it over quick. Mother of a newspaper.

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  9. Kantipur is joining the hand with regressive forces. Why din’t it write more positive story of country. First time in the country’s poltics poor, marganilized and opressed people have voices. More than 238 years the people in country side especially in far and mid west are deprived of state resources and relief and development from state. Now there is Kamaiya, dalit, Janajati, women representation. Bravo Prachnada, you are the president of republic of Nepal.

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  10. Whosoever is writing this blog is Sent by King’s cronies to cover up the truth. Gyanay is very rich and now he is trying to protect his assets-which he acquired illegally by spreading lies..

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  11. Who is this idiot writing such a bunch of baloney..This is not true for gods shake. Open up your eyes you idiot…A poor king that to this corrupt..Ahhh idiot.

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  12. King is rich not poor. but psychologically poor right now. He could not judge the education or intelligence level of the Nepalese. How a nepali can tolerate the bullshits from Tulsi giri, jagat gauchan, srish S , Satchit etc. ? he did not know. When smeone commits a grave mistake, he must take the ultimate responsibility.

    But we need to see how the new members of the interim parliament, particularly the Maoists. Particularly I am waiting to see whether the Maoists Ministers take bribe or not ? that will decide the future of Nepal.

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  13. when i read the title, i said huh, what the dude is saying, and checked calendar to check if it was a fools day.

    gyaney neither became powerful overnight nor powerless overnight. he gradually grabbed the power and now is gradually loosing it, a full circle.
    and i don’t think he’s poor either, contrary to what ameet wants us to believe. the ‘newsreporter’ talks about his investigation, but where are the facts? is this the investigative journalism that he’s talking about?

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  14. Hard to believe this article. What about his account in foreign Banks? What about diamonds and jewelleries? What about 20 Billion belonging to Pampha Devi that was transferred to the King? Luxury cars and Sital Niwas ??

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  15. I was not happy when the Unity Day was curtailed by the Government of SPA. What PN Shah has done against Nepal ?

    If he is also not respected for his contribution, I ask for distribution of Nepal in 22 and 24 pricipalities again. We should not always be in cloud nine, we should think about the realpolitiks.

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  16. if this is true, then why kantipur publication should not apologise for misinforming people earlier?
    nepal needs monarchy

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  17. First, kantipur was dead against the King. Now like its master, India, wants to keep him ceremonial. That is why such article is published to get sympathy for the King. I don’t have any sympathy for him.

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  18. Interesting to see many people, some are mandale I am sure, speaking against Kantipur without knowing anything about reality. First this report is NOT carried by Kantipur but the Kathmandu Post. Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post are two different newspapers with two separate editors. Like all other professionally run newspapers in the world, management of Kantipur Publications don’t oversee day to day editorial affairs of the papers. They are too busy looking into the marketing aspect of the papers.

    Both the papers have carried out news reports about king’s properties in the past and they are continuing to do so. While doing so, both papers have given both sides of the story. I have seen Soaltee group refuting TKP stories about the king’s share in the certain companies. There is whole lot of debate going on in the op-ed space of Kantipur. This report happens to be one of those and I don’t see anything wrong in this. The theme of the story is that the king has become poorer and powerless ON PAPER that is! With the promulgation of the interim constitution that curtails royal rights and involvement in the state affair. Just the presentation is different, that’s it.

    If you think Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post are trying to save monarchy, you must be concluded as a silly moron. My experience is that reporters there are outright republicans and editors really don’t like monarchy. Prateek Pradhan, editor of the Post, is a republican. Ameet Dhakal, the writer of this particular article, is a republican and a Kangressi. I often visit their office for I occasionally write for their papers and found them committed to a democratic Nepal without monarchy.

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  19. Read the article by Dhakal and then call others silly. I think you bhadgaun is more to the east than we expected to support kantipur and TKP.Actually hem raj gywanly and sirohia are the partners from the time when hemraj was customs chief.he has invested some corruption money to become the big media house today. Haram ko paisa ho tyesle ramro result didaina.

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  20. I just want to say the author of this article is an absolute idiot.
    Of course Raja G has alot more than .15 percent of the shares! It’s just not in his name… He owns it through other people.

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  21. Bhadgaon– you let the secret out in your closing remarks– the fact that you write for them means you also get paid from Kantipur Publications– if this means anything.

    Its strange that “intellectuals” like you (going by your claim that you write for kantipur Publications) opine that jsut because people “think” a certain way, they are “morons”. Your professional publications, because it is in public domain should be able to counter the criticism and not call the critics “morons”. So, watch what you are saying about the critics– if you can’t take criticism and are expecting everyone around you to throw accolades at you, then you are either sleeping or very badly mistaken.

    Your claim that Kantipur and Kathmandu Post are independent from each other is also misplaced because it may not be just a coincidence that the readers of these newpapers are doled out literal translations of articles that published in the other newspaper. May be you have a different twist to it too. And your first claim that the two newpapers are independant from its Publication house is the most laughable claim. A publication hosue is never too busy with marketing affairs that it loses sight of the social and political stance it takes about issues. They are still guided by the special interest groups, and Kantipur, going by the way it presents its news, is also maligned with this.

    And your major claim that Kantipur has been publishing both sides of the story– there you are mixing op-ed columns with news space. Your news space has never published both sides of the stories. Your paid wrtiers, like yourselves, may have presented their sides of the story in the op-ed columns but your news items have been consistently biased and remains so.

    And I am surprised that you think your editorial team so leaning towards a republican set up– is that a matter or ideology or going with the tide to suit your business interest. Because even until the late nineties, we never spotted your editorial team tlaking along those lines. it was only after your editorial team figured out that Nepal turning into a republican state was inevitable due to increasing influence of the terrorists and the weak stance of the corrupt political parties, that your editorial team changed spots. Else, you weer always criticisng the politician without criticising the political set was that was created by the 1990 Jana-andolan.

    You can keep on writing for Kathmandu Post to make your ends meet but please don’t try and force others to “like” the newspaper and stop people from chosing what they want to crticise or not.

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  22. The king didn’t have much time to accumulate wealth. The late king B was among the wealthiest men in the world but we don’t know if G found access to the secret Swiss accounts or not. I doubt it. G is probably not that wealthy. Look to the corrupt politicians and heads of NGOs for where the nation’s wealth went.

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  23. I don’t believe this post. How can a person be poor overnight unless he is gambling. In any case what is posted here is unreliable, though everybody expects it is. I don’t think that eKantipur has access to all these information.

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  24. I do not believe anyone. All are so good suddenly, months only ago maoists were terrorists now all did the right thing.

    Ganesha bless us all for being lighthearted, opportunistic in the face of a gun.
    Yes we hated the king for being bad, because we are good.
    He all Himself and all those guys holding guns in my face for years.
    help the poor, steal a little less today!

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  25. Bhadgaon,

    Professionally run newspaper…what a laugh…99% bias..

    Then why Kantipur is not writing and even not mentioning single word against our captured 1.6 million Ropanis of land by India. Instead, it trying to make hue cry about reconstruction of China border line. Similarly, it is already 7 days bandh in terai region but Kantipur is praising the present government by trying to give the impression that peace process is very much success after aboshing the monarchy. One thing remember peace process has become success between SPA (+M) only interms of sharing the power among them and abolishing the king. Many issues are now being more complicated than before. Madhesi already started to imagine about seperate country by claiming it has 14 million people with the area of 34,109 sq. km (20 districts)bigger than the size of Belgium, Haiti, Israel, Fiji, Kuwait, Qutar, Lebanon, Cyprus, Singapore and Maldives. They ar claiming Madhesh ranks around at 74th position, larger than other 163 countries/territories, by population. How this government is going to solve without taking immediate action toward their demand? The professional Kantipur is just busy in making propoganda against the monarchy instead of raising the issues about madhesh to tackle the problem. Furthermore Kantipur is more busy in singing the song as well wishers and supporters of SPA (+M). One thing everyone should remember not only KG but SPA (+M) are also the main culprits for ruining our nation.

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  26. Right on sAGARMATHA. Kantipur is a very biased and untrustworthy newspaper. It is indeed questionable where some of their funding comes from.

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  27. Whether it is Kantipur or Kathmandu Post, they have only one ideology – Money and Want for Absolute Intellectual Control. And they have been following one simple business strategy – Controversy creates Cash.

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  28. sagarmatha (13:28:15) : “Then why Kantipur is not writing and even not mentioning single word against our captured 1.6 million Ropanis of land by India.”

    **Sagarmatha,

    Just do this and I will consider answering you: say the same thing with your full name and address disclosed. Send UWB your photo and provide them information about where India has encroached the Nepali land. Hiding behind anonymity and crying about nationalism? You coward who has been paid by the Indian embassy to defame Nepali institution.

    And you Gyanendra’s dog don’t seem to know that Jwala Singh group attacked and bombed Kantipur vehicle for not giving their anti-Nepal voice in the newspapers.

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  29. It is clear that Kantipur takes money from the Indian embassy. What is does is brainwashing innocent minds to fulfill Indian motive. I watched the Jana Andolaan 2 coverage and was amazed to find out how they change small facts to make people go out into the streets.

    These days it is praising and only praising while it was criticizing and only criticizing during the kings reign. “Rajabadi lai hana-haan”. What are they trying to say? ” You will get beaten up if you support the king”. Its simple as that. And another news paper reports “Rajabadi ko pratibedan a-swikar”. Just read the same news in two different newspapers. You will find out which is a communist or a congress newspaper.

    What kantipur is doing till now is Indian propaganda. It is crystal clear.

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  30. To All Nepalese

    As we move ahead in the history of Nepal I am very proud of what has happened with regards to the peoples movement. I am also very proud of certain groups of people ie. the so called lower class for their struggle and sacarifice to the movement. I am ashamed of our current king after seeing his absolute lack of any leadership since taking power. I don’t think anyone disagrees that our forefather had a vision for Nepal and that vision has never been releasized. It brought tears to my eyes when I learned that Prithivi Jayanti was no more and his statue was partially distroyed. All relatively intellegent people know that Nepal is in serious need of a Leader. A plane highacker is not a good leader; one can only imagine what his vision must be, infact it is obvious seeing the state that Nepal currently is in. The current King certainly proved his inability and a complete lack of any leadership. And finally the Moaist and there communism idealogy; are we living in the 21 century or the 1st?

    Every dog has it’s day. The Royals had there days and now the Moasist and the sissy 7 parties will have theirs. But in the midst of it all Nepal will move no where and the general public will always have to bear the burden. It’s not just my view but inevitable; trust me; if not just look back 10,15,20 years has anything changed? If there is anyone who is optomistic, point me to a fact to lead me to believe things will be different. Anyone who is reading this might ask me so what do we do? Who do we move forward and truly put Nepal in the global map? Let me tell you one thing: That day will come. The Royal dug themselves into a huge hole with years in power; like wise it is time now for the moaist and the sissy parties to do the same and dig their hole which I must say they are doing a very good job of doing. Any major change requires time and proper planning which is precisely what I have begun doing as I write what is on my mind today. I am ashamed to say this but it’s a necessity and the first and foremost thing that needs to happen is the eradication of all Bahuns from our beloved country! This is 50% of Nepals problem solved. If there is anyone who disagrees with me on this I would encourage you to do something with the current leadership which surprisingly seems to consist of this group of people and really move Nepal in the right direction and to do the right thing for Nepal OR plan your resistance against this inevitable future.

    I live everyday dreaming of Nepal that is developed; prosperous and peaceful. A dream that is not impossible; infact very easy to attain given the patriotic sentiment that we so strongly believe and hold. Please feel free to email me with any views, questions or concerns. Nepali haru; Don’t be fooled by this bogus Peoples Movement/ Andolan. Prepare yourself for a real transformation of Nepal which you all have heard of but never known. If a gang of 100-500 committed people( remember rest of the moaist were forced to join) with Bharuwa Bandook’s can be a force and be able to put themselves in parliament; I don’t think it would be hard for a group of same number of people with automatic weapons to be a force to reckon with right? Right? Right? Right? Maoist’s have proved in front of my eyes that that it is possible.

    Jay Nepal

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  31. i think this is a sponsored news article. the person who owns 30k ropani land across nepal, doesn’t pay any taxes, state pays all the bills for royal travel to royal nwaran and bhatkhuwai, etc., do i believe that person to be a poorman overnight? yes, he is powerless. check this what author writes:

    “Now a majority of these enterprises are owned and managed by Tara Management…..”.

    My dear Amit ji, Tara Management manages individual’s assets like other asset management company, but it does not own anyone’s assets.

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  32. MR. Rana, I think what Nepal needs more than anything is peace. The current situation is far from ideal, but more bloodshed is unthinkable. I sincerely hope that those with their own axes to grind will not take up weapons to achieve their goal. We have suffered enough from fear and death.

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  33. Bhadgaun,

    Upset!!!!

    Namaskar,

    I DON’T WANT TO GO LOWER STANDARD COMMENT like you wise-man do. I don’t say dog to you but I better say wise-man because I know you might be a professional journalist. Lets go to the point; Have you gone through my writing, I AM NOT SAYING KG’s MOVEMENT WAS RIGHT BUT I AM SAYING THAT ALL THREE KG, SPA AND M HAD RUINED THIS COUNTRY IN THE PAST. If that continue our country ramain where it is or may further goes in chaos. This is just check and balance, don’t try to pampered SPAM after all they are also culprits of this country. If you have vested interest for totally supporting SPA +M, then I don’t have to say anything, I just say sorry to you from my side, not dog of the SPA (+M)??

    REGARDING LAND CAPTURED BY INDIA IS WRITTEN IN “NEPAL SAMACHAR PATRA (IN FRONT PAGE)” AND 1.6 MILLION ROPANIS (1 lac bighas)IS WRITTEN IN WELL KNOWN LOCAL PATRIKA ON THAT BASIS WHICH I HAD MENTIONED. Even the news came that student recaptured the land in some of the areas. IF YOU DON’T AGREE THEN GO AND CRY WITH THOSE PAPERS NOT ME AND ASK FOR THE HELP WITH SOMEONE FOR KEEPING THEM SILENT AND US AS WELL. So that everyone should be blind about it. Regarding JTMM, if king is behind it then you should remember king is still very strong and might be more dangerous tomorrow whatever constitution is introduced. I am just trying to open the eyes to the SPAM you wise-man (not dog), if they really serious about this country then they should address the issues before it goes further worst. This is already experienced with the maoist case. Where I am wrong in this case? But I agree with you in one point (only) about attacking to anyone should be very much criticised from all sector.

    Bye for now…you wise-man (not dog)

    again Namaskar

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  34. Mr. rana, it is like crocodile’s tears. So , who ruled nepal for about 170 years of 238 years. It is Ranas. They made fool of the king; they were still making the King G fool by becoming advisers. Like Prazwol, Sachit, Srish, Nikchhya etc. today’s poor Nepal can be attributed a larger part to the Ranas. I am sorry that you wrote using the name Rana. Ranas are the curse for Nepal. About curtailing the Unity day, this mistake can be rectified in the next year. Sitaula is another fool who acted on a haste. I think it is not bahuns who should be chased but Ranas and Shahs from Nepal. I think you are from miltary so I tell you that there were Gaddar like Kumar Phudong in the military who used to pass the info to maoists. So we do not need ungrateful and Gaddar like Phudong in the society.

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