Victims of Cooperatives Say Police Refused to File their Complaints

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Victims of Cooperatives Say Police Refused to File their Complaints

KATHMANDU: The victims of cooperatives said that the police did not file their complaints against the operators of the problematic cooperatives who failed to return their deposits.

Speaking at an interaction organized by the Parliamentary Special Investigation Committee on Misuse of Cooperative Savings on Wednesday, the victims alleged that directors of fraudulent cooperatives managed to escape because the police failed to file and investigate complaints on time.

Kiran Shrestha, a victim of Suryadarshan Cooperative in Pokhara, complained that after the cooperative failed to return his savings, he repeatedly approached the police, but they did not file his complaint.

A report prepared by the Pokhara Metropolitan City indicates that Suryadarshan Cooperative invested loans in the Gorkha Media Network. The victims allege that the police avoided investigating due to the involvement of influential people in the cooperative's misconduct. "Regardless of who the home minister or police chief is, there should be an investigation. If the person is guilty, their movable assets and bank accounts should be frozen to recover the money," Shrestha said.

GB Rai, chairman of Gorkha Media Network, is accused of misusing funds from Swarnalakshmi Savings and Credit Cooperative in Kathmandu, Sahara Cooperative in Chitwan, Sano Paila Cooperative in Birgunj, Suryadarshan Cooperative in Pokhara, Supreme Savings and Credit Cooperative in Butwal, and Samana Savings and Credit Cooperative in Nepalgunj.

Ravi Lamichhane, Chairman of Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) and incumbent Home Minister, was the Managing Director of Gorkha Media Network at the time. The parliamentary committee was formed following allegations of Lamichhane's involvement in the misappropriation of cooperative savings. 

Dinesh Ghimire, a victim of Yamuna Idol, a multi-purpose cooperative, reported that after being ignored by the Department of Cooperatives, he approached the police but did not receive justice there either.

"The cooperative owners were given a year to return the savings, allowing them to escape and transfer their land," he said. "The money of the depositors will not be returned unless the owners’ assets are auctioned to return the savings," he said.

Dil Bahadur Karki, a victim of Baglung-based Image Savings and Credit Cooperative, also emphasized that the depositors’ money could be returned from the cooperative owner’s property. "The assets of the cooperative's chairman, Dev Kumar Nepali, exceed Rs 2 billion, while the embezzlement by the cooperative amounts to Rs 2.35 billion," he stated.

Khagendra KC, a victim of Kantipur Saving Cooperative, pointed out that the cooperative's land is mortgaged to the bank, and when the bank auctions it, there is a risk that the depisotors will not get their savings back.

During the parliamentary committee meeting on Friday, Inspector General of Nepal Police Basanta Bahadur Kunwar explained that directors of cooperatives took loans by mortgaging property acquired from the depositors in banks. When the banks auctioned these properties at low prices, it put the cooperatives’ savings at risk.

Similarly, in the committee meeting on Monday, Nepal Rastra Bank’s Governor Maha Prasad Adhikari proposed forming a 'dedicated' group to solve the problem, suggesting that the cooperative issues could be addressed using methods similar to those adopted for troubled banks.


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