Story of How Chandi Raj Dhakal Looted Nepal

We always knew many businessmen in this country were corrupt and cheating the nation. While taking about the corruption of politicians only, the businessmen’s misdeeds were under shadow. In fact, they were the ones who promoted corruption in political circle. The government rarely took action against corrupt businessmen. We only heard about the blacklist but never saw the action against the blacklisted individuals. Here is a story of one such blacklisted and corrupt businessman who is now facing the action:

By Prem Khanal

Chandi Raj Dhakal, president of the apex body of business chambers, FNCCI, has been summoned by the government for swindling Rs 8.6 million by forging documents. Dhakal has so far ignored summons by the Revenue Investigation Department (RID). According to our source, the government is all set to use police, if he further delays in producing himself to RID. Once Dhakal presents himself at RID, he will have to deposit a bail amount of Rs 25.5 million to avoid detention. RID has alleged that Dhakal owned Momento Apparels, the largest garment factory of the country, cheated Rs 8.6 million in customs duty by producing forged documents at the bonded warehouse. On his part, Chandi Raj Dhakal has denied being involved in any such forgery. “Some error might have happened about a year-and-a-half ago when my factory was gutted by fire. I’m investigating the case, and will produce facts before the government soon,” he said. Dhakal said that the responsible person of Momento Apparels was out of the country now, so he was taking time to reply to the government summons.

Under the bonded warehouse facility, all export-oriented companies including readymade garments are allowed to import raw materials at zero percent duty. However, exporters are required to submit cash deposit or bank guarantee equivalent to customs duty applicable on the materials, plus VAT. The duty paid is refunded after the importer exports the finished goods made from the imported raw materials. Momento Apparels did not export the garment products made from the imported consignment of fabrics, but only produced fake documents and got the duties refunded.

Sources told The Kathmandu Post that Dhakal’s defiance has irritated the government. “The limit to tolerance has been exceeded, it is time to take action,” said a high level source at the Ministry of Finance. The source said that given his position as the president of the apex body of the private sector, Dhakal was given enough time to arrange a bail amount of Rs 25.5 million ever since the scam was detected about a month ago.

As per the Revenue Leakages (Investigation and Control) Act 2052, a defendant is required to submit a bail worth double the claimed amount to avoid detention. According to our source, Dhakal has been avoiding RID interrogation on the pretext of ill health. However, he was seen live on state-owned television as a judge of the Miss Nepal beauty pageant. The RID issued the first summons on April 1, asking him to be present on April 3, but Dhakal did not bother. He was then contacted on phone by RID officials and gave assurances that he would submit himself on Thursday or Friday.

The Momento Apparel’s forgery was first traced during an on-site audit inspection of Auditor General’s office and put the amount as arrears in the name of Department of Cust-oms. The Customs Department then handed-over the case to the RID given its complexities. The arrears amount by Auditor General’s office in the similar category is over Rs 120 million. So, it is likely that other garment industries might also come under investigation.

It seems the government has decided to take serious action against FNCCI president Dhakal. As per our political source, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat have signaled the RID to take action as per law. If indicted, Dhakal can face a jail term up to three years, and will have to pay Rs 25.5 million in fine.

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62 thoughts on “Story of How Chandi Raj Dhakal Looted Nepal”

  1. Manan I don’t have time to get into this which comes first the chicken or the egg argument. The ultimate prerequisite for economic development is political stability. Right now no one knows what excatly the Maoists’ economic policies are going to look like. Some think they will champion nationalization others think they will have a more hands off approach. The point is no one knows.

    Furthermore, even after the CA elections I don’t know if the Maoists will accept the results. They are so confident they will win a majority. However, with the recent Terai debacle and the possible unification of the congress party I doubt the Maoists will do as they are anticipating. The big question will be what next … will they accept the result, go back to fighting, cause disprution and claim the elections were a sham etc.?
    What aspect of economics do you want to talk about? Land reform? Rural development? what??? Just understand that any economic reform is only going to come from good political leadership – unfortunetly that doesn’t exist in Nepal. Heck we don’t even have basic law and order right now – businessmen are being kidnapped, extortions continue unabated etc.

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  2. I agree political/social resolution is the first step, followed by economic prosperity. Sure they are hard to separate, but if any effort is made to do so then political always comes first.

    Wrt Maoists economic agenda – being the Marxists they claim to be, they must remember what Karl Marx himself said once. Marx – the epitome of all things communist was himself in awe of capitalsim and its immense power to define the new world order, the ultimate force that would set things right and converge the world breaking all state, religion, race and color boundaries. In other words – globalization. We are living in the midst of it today and if we dont become a part of this new order sooner, then we’ll be left out. We will be the first casualty of this new order as the world takes the path of least resistance to distribute/make adjustments for increasingly diminishing world resources.

    Well, not trying to give a deliberated spiel on something we all aware of, but if Maoists make capitalism and bourgeoise their enemy, then Nepal has no future.

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  3. Patriot: my fear is that the Maoists are expecting to do really well in the CA elctions. It seems as if they are banking everything on that. However, if the CA elctions are held in a relatively free and fair manner I doubt the election results will really go in the Maoists favor. They dropped the ball on the Terai issue and with the possible unification of the congress party I anticipate the Maoiss coming in 3rd/4th place. I fear they will not expect these results and let lose their YCL and other rouge groups thereby disrupting the country.
    Even now they are already threatening that if the CA polls aren’t held on time they will start a fresh struggle – they are desperate to hold the elections.

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  4. I sure would be happy if they come 3rd/4th – not too powerful so they dont screw the country with their outdated policies, not too weak that they cant provide strong opposition to these spineless SPA.

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  5. Ah that’s the question though. Will the Maoists accept a 3rd/4th position? I have a feeling they won’t! They seem to be under the impression that they will win a majority of the votes and dominate the show. If things turn out against them I doubt these jungalis have it in them to behave.

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  6. I may sound over optimistic, but I feel they dont have much choice. Their legitimacy is based on their promises to accept CA results apart from tacit approval from India and if they lose or come 3rd/4th Indians have nothing to gain by ignoring all calls from international community and backing Maoists full fledged. Instead its detrimental to their own security given most of UP/Bihar is already swamped with their own version of Maoists. Moreover US/EU wont keep quiet and SPA will not remain silent either. It will be easy to send them back to the jungles then, maybe wipe them out for good with all the support/arms other countries shudnt have probs giving our APF, NA.

    So, really the odds are against them, but sure we will have many cases of them rigging ballots & stuff like that. People are already suspicious of Maoists and if they behave like bad losers they will be worse off. Best strategy for them will be to accept and move on and fight ideologically hoping public will be so fed up of SPA that they might eventually have a chance someday.

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  7. noname – you might say its uncalled for, but I empathise with you. Its these very activities of Maoists which makes us very very suspicious of them. And we detest SPA just as much. You gotto atleast give us that given you’ve been following our posts. But I dont understand why you have nothing to offer except accuse us all of being SPAMers just because we refuse to blindly praise monarchy!

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  8. I agree with Patriot. Just because we don’t blindly support Monarchy it doesn’t mean we like the Maoists or the SPA. Unforunnetly we have little choice at the moment.

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  9. And my sincere condolonces to you and to the family of the decesed. It is indeed a sad and tragic thing to hear.

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