Nine cooperatives under probe for embezzling over Rs. 4.25 billion

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By A Staff Reporter,Kathmandu, Apr. 24:The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of the Nepal Police has intensified the investigation into two cooperatives, which have been declared crisis-ridden. 

The CIB has intensified the investigation into the fraud cases of Sumeru Saving and Credit Cooperatives of Pulchowk, Lalitpur, and Avotus Cooperative Limited of Gaushala, Kathmandu.

Sumeru Cooperatives of Pulchowk, Lalitpur, has embezzled more than Rs. 10 billion collected from about 35,000 depositors.

Bharat Maharjan is the chairman of Sumeru Cooperative. He is currently absconding. The CIB  issued a 'Red Notice' against Maharjan through Interpol from the National Central Bureau (NCB) Kathmandu on February 2.

The police suspect that he is in the UK with his family. Similarly, a complaint of fraud of millions of rupees by Avotus Cooperatives in Gaushala also reached the CIB.

A few days ago, the CIB arrested three persons including the chairman of the Hamro Nayan Agricultural Cooperatives, Lila Bahadur Gurung. He was arrested after receiving a complaint of misusing Rs. 26 million from the depositors. However, he was released after the CIB submitted a report to the District Attorney's Office with the opinion that the case should not be prosecuted after the victims’ amount was paid. 

However, Gurung was arrested again on Wednesday (April 17) after a complaint was lodged against him in the Kalyan Upakar Cooperatives fraud case of Manbhawan in Lalitpur.

According to the CIB, it has investigated a total of seven cooperatives in the current fiscal year, and 22 persons were arrested and prosecuted. 

CIB Spokesperson and Superintendent of Police (SP) Hobindra Bogati said that complaints about cooperative fraud were continuously lodged at the CIB.

Complaints against some more cooperatives, which were declared by the government as problematic, have also been lodged at the CIB.

The biggest cooperative fraud investigation done by CIB in the current fiscal 2080/081 was on the Lalitpur-based Deurali Cooperatives. Three persons were arrested, including its chairman Rabindra Chaulagain. 

It has been revealed that Deurali Cooperatives embezzled Rs. 658.2 million of the depositors. The three persons are currently in judicial custody. 

Similarly, Arjan Multipurpose Cooperative Society embezzled Rs. 115 million, and eight officials of this cooperative were arrested in connection to the fraud. 

It has been revealed that the National Development Cooperative has cheated Rs. 332.22 million, and two directors of the cooperative have been arrested and are in prison. 

Real Gorkha Cooperative had defrauded Rs. 86.9 million of the depositors.

The CIB has also been investigating the Sai Swagat Cooperative Society and South Western State Savings Cooperative Society.

Sai Swagat and South Western Cooperative had defrauded about Rs. 30 million each. 

The problematic Cooperative Management Committee has declared 20 more cooperative organisations as problematic, said SP Bogati. 

From March 2019 to March 2024, a total of 20 cooperatives were declared problematic or crisis-ridden.

According to SP Bogati, over Rs. 4.25 billion of thousands of depositors of the 20 problematic cooperatives have been found embezzled.

Some of the problematic declared cooperatives include -- Kuber Savings and Credit Cooperative Limited, Standard Multipurpose Cooperative, Standard Savings and Cooperative, Pacific Savings and Investment Cooperative, Societal Savings and Credit Cooperative, Prabhu Savings and Loans Cooperative Society, Chartered Savings and Credit Cooperatives, Luniva Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Oriental Cooperative Limited and Consumer Savings and Loan Cooperative Societies.

Similarly, Kohinoor Hill Saving Credit Cooperative Limited, Vegas Savings and Cooperatives, Pashupati Saving and Credit Cooperatives, Tulsi Multipurpose Cooperatives Society, Shiva Shikhar Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Hamro Nayan Agricultural Cooperative, Krishi Bikash Cooperative Society, Kantipur Savings and Credit Cooperatives Institution, Laliguras Multipurpose Cooperative Society and Gautam Shree Multipurpose Cooperative Society are also declared as crisis-ridden cooperatives.

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