BY D. M. THAPA
There was a huge banner news in a popular vernacular daily which revealed that bank officials had swindled different banks to the tune of more than 22 billion rupees in the last 10 years. This is astonishing, considering the fact that the bankers are one of the highest paid workers who also enjoy mouth watering perks as compared to workers at other institutions.
According to the report, the biggest swindle has taken place in the Capital Merchant Banking and Finance which has lost seven billion and fifty million rupees. The second is Nepal Share Market and Finance which has lost above five billion rupees and the third one is Apex Bank and the fourth one is H and B Development Bank, which have lost above one billion each respectively. There are above forty other banks which have also lost money due to the greed of the bankers and some employees.
DIG Niraj Shahi who heads the Criminal Investigation Department (CIB) of the Nepal Police agrees that as they swindle more money, “the greed increases”, he said to the daily. The flow of money in the banks also encourages them to dip their hand in such funds which they feel free to use for their own purposes.
According to another report in the same daily the master brain behind the biggest scam is Pawan Karki who is now residing in the United States. Apparently, Karki created artificial companies and provided loans by keeping cheap land as collateral. But while the small fries who acted as the loan takers are in jail, Karki, who was the CEO has still not been arrested though an Interpol Red Corner notice has been issued in his name.
Leaving aside the bank scams for a while, it is indeed surprising why Interpol does not arrest and deport such criminals to the country where they will be tried and punished? Are the local police lying by saying such a notice has been circulated by the Interpol or does the Interpol act on a selective basis? Even neighboring India has failed to bring in many criminals who are hiding abroad after committing similar financial crimes.
An expert remarked that Interpol is more concerned with political criminals than financial criminals, this may not be true. Otherwise how could individuals who were leaders of the then Maoist rebel during the 10 year old insurgency in Nepal and against whom Red Corner notices were served by Interpol at the request of the then government led by presently revolutionary Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba, could live safely and soundly in India? Deuba had even put a ransom on the heads of about a dozen Maoist leaders, including Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Babu Ram Bhattarai and Ram Bahadur Thapa among others, but now these very people are in the government. Dahal and Bhattarai even went on to become prime ministers through the help of late Girija Prasad Koirala, who boasted how he had brought the Maoist to peaceful mainstream politics. The government led by Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is also a senior leader of the present ruling party had even said late Koirala should receive the Nobel Peace Prize. It was also ironic that it was the very same late GP Koirala, who had said that he would finish off the communists from Nepal in the early Nineties.
It is mind boggling how many times top level political leader in Nepal have made ridiculous remarks, which have proven false later on, but perhaps this is the trait of politicians all over the world including the US, which is the most powerful nation on earth and also boasts of being the oldest democracy. The US and its allies in Europe and a host of NGOs funded by them, constantly preach other poorer nations about equality, rights and transparency among others in a pious manner.
Just a few days back, Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba said that the Nepali territory included in the new Indian map was done so with the consent of Prime Minister KP Oli. This is a grave accusation and either he must prove it or he must apologize not only to Oli, but to all the Nepalese people. Deuba’s arch rival in the party Ram Chandra Poudel, who has become deputy prime minister several times during the Maoist insurgency said that Pushpa Kamal Dahal was actually functioning from Nirmal Niwas, the residence of former King Gyanendra. Dahal himself said at a mass meeting in Kathmandu that he would soon be assassinated, he also said that the former King was cooking up a conspiracy to destroy ‘Loktantra’ time and again. Such utterances should be chronicled by the so called free media and remind the people how many lies they are being fed by the political leaders.
The Interpol should also not be “selective” in arresting individuals. Either it should punish those police forces which may untruthfully have said an Interpol Red Corner notice has been issued, or if it really has been issued, it should promptly act on it.
To come back to banking fraud, the former executive chairman of one of the oldest finance company, the Nepal Share Market and Finance, Yogendra Prasad Shrestha was hiding in India after swindling more than two billion rupees along with his son. But he was arrested with the help of the Indian police and brought back to Nepal. There are hundreds of other similar seamstress who are on the run and it is doubtful whether the Nepal Police or Interpol can catch them.
But this is the way the country has been bled economically, cheated politically and destroyed socially by clever individuals. It is almost like the movie where the main character swindles institutions in many parts of the US and proudly says, “Catch me if you can”.