November 18: Department of Money Laundering Investigation on Sunday raided three medical colleges amid protest by the students against the colleges charging fees above the ceiling set by the government.
The department raided Chitwan Medical College, Nobel Medical College of Biratnagar and National Medical College of Birgunj and confiscated vital documents.
The department said that it raided the colleges on the basis of reports prepared by the National Vigilance Centre and Ministry of Education regarding the colleges overcharging education fees.
The National Vigilance Centre had written a letter to the department to take action against colleges overcharging students.
“We had been observing the activities of the colleges since some time after National Vigilance Centre wrote us letter asking us to probe the colleges as well as their operators,” said a source at the department requesting anonymity.
“We raided the colleges in course of taking action against them as per the request of the vigilance centre,” confirmed the source.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers on October 1 last year had determined the fees of medical colleges across the country. As per the cabinet decision, the government had fixed the annual fees of MBBS degree within the Kathmandu Valley at Rs 3.85 million while the colleges outside the valley were allowed to charge Rs 4.24 million for the same course.
Meanwhile, the fee for BDS was set at Rs 1.93 million
However, medical colleges have been accused of charging fees more than the ceiling set by the government.
Students have been protesting against the colleges claiming that some colleges have been charging up to Rs 1.5 million more than the fee set by the government.
The National Vigilance Centre has already initiated probe into irregularities in fees of 12 medical colleges. A report prepared by the centre states that those medical colleges have been charging fees against the laws.
The department has also started investigating the property details of the promoters of the colleges and the source of investment.
Promoter of National Medical College Bashuriddin Ansari is the chairman of Association of Private Medical Colleges of Nepal. He is associated with the ruling Nepal Communist Party. Likewise, promoter of Nobel Medical College Sunil Sharma was a candidate for the House of Representatives from Nepali Congress but lost the last election.
The Ministry of Education had ordered the private medical colleges about a week ago to either return the additional fees charged by them to the students or adjust the extra fees within 15 days. Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel had warned the colleges that the instruction was the final warning before taking action against them.
However, the medical colleges had warned that they would stop new admission if they had to return the fees. They had also said they would close the colleges instead of returning the money.