Corruption case against 97 for petroleum theft at Bhalbari

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) today filed a corruption case at the Kathmandu-based Special Court against 97 people, including Nepal Oil Corporation employees, petroleum distributors, tanker owners and tanker drivers for their involvement in the customs evasion and the theft of petroleum products at the Nepal Oil Corporation’s Bhalbari Depot of Rupandehi district.

The anti-graft body said that resorted to prosecution as its investigation proved that the accused were involved in corruption that inflicted a loss of Rs 77.784154 million on the state-owned NOC.

According to the CIAA, in collusion with the eight NOC officials including Deputy Director and Bhalbari Depot Manager, the petroleum distributors and transporters had been stealthily importing more than approved volume of petroleum products from the Indian side of Betalpur, depositing the excess import at Padsari and Madhawaliya before reaching the Bhalbari Depot, and stealing the products.

In April and May, the CIAA had arrested NOC officials and petroleum transporters to look into the scam.

The CIAA has claimed that the scam included the theft of petroleum products worth Rs 61.702 million, customs evasion of Rs 10.936 million, and bribe to the NOC officials amounting Rs 5.145 million.

The defendants include four petroleum distributors, 66 tanker owners and 19 tanker drivers.

The NOC officials who have been prosecuted are NOC Deputy Director Nagendra Kumar Kurmi, Manager of Bhalbari Depot Dipendra Basnet, Deputy Manager Kaushav Raj Acharya, Assistant Managers Ajit Kumar Pokhrel, Ravin Kumar Raut and Ram Bhakta Karki (now resigned), and then Deputy Manager Devendra Bahadur K.C.

The petroleum distributors who have been prosecuted are Suresh Prasad Umar of Butwal-2, Rupandehi; Raju Neupani of Sindarthanagar-8, Rupandehi; Shankar Bhattarai of Butwal-6, Rupandehi; and Lok Prasad Bhusal of Beulibas-6, Parbat and now residing in Tulsinagar-6 of Nawalparasi.

Source: THT