Mysterious silence of the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister: Why has the issue of billionaire’s dollars raised? « Jana Aastha News Online
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१२ मंसिर २०७८, आईतवार
|  Sun Nov 28 2021

Mysterious silence of the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister: Why has the issue of billionaire’s dollars raised?

प्रकाशित मिति :  १० भाद्र २०७७, बुधबार ११:३६


Following the very urgent and confidential letter that the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has written a few weeks ago to Nabil Bank with the objective of finding an account of the invisible investments and profits made by dollar billionaire Binod Chaudhary abroad, various speculations have been started. Chaudhary Group’s investment, which holds solely the 50% stake of Nabil Bank in the name of NB International Limited, especially the invisible abroad, has always been intricate to the Government.

The issues of foreign exchange trading, foreign investment and investment made abroad fall under the purview of NRB. Therefore, the bank officials have indicated that the process has been taken forward as per the political directives and plans of the upper echelons. Many people have compared some of the congratulatory remarks made by former communications minister Gokul Banskota on Maha Prasad Adhikari’s Twitter account following his appointment as governor in Chaitra last year.

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Banskota tweeted, “… I wish you to stop billions of dollars being sent abroad illegally in the name of dividends through the success of companies like NB International in making retrospective laws. I want to give a small suggestion.”

Banskota had to resign from the post of Minister in Falgun last year after the bribery scandal became public. The exit of Banskota, who has been very close to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, was understood by Baluwatar at the time as a victim of the Chaudhary Group’s grand design. Naturally there is some essence in Baluwatar’s understanding.

It was alleged that Minister Banskota used all means to prevent the CG Communications of the Chaudhary Group from operating mobile services and to ring out forever. The billionaire’s son and managing director of communications, Nirvana Chaudhary, made the allegations publicly.

All these incidents have made that the secret letter written by the Governor to NB International and Chaudhary through Nabil Bank and the situation was like ‘roaring a tiger and losing a goat’. According to sources, the letter especially sought to clarify the dividend of tens of millions of dollars that had been sent to Bangladesh over the years, the dollar income that Chaudhary had received so far from the company and the amount that he had entered the country.

This will provide a quick basis for the government to make necessary amendments to the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) currently under consideration in the parliament. Four years back, Chaudhary had succeeded in making a favorable arrangement in BAFIA from a parliamentary committee under the auspices of the power center. Currently, the act has been stuck in the parliament for a long time for amendment.

For the Billionaire who has been getting all his works done being close to the Royal Palace during the Panchayat period and UML in cover and Congress in essence after 046 for almost three decades, the last parliamentary election became a nightmare. In the first Constituent Assembly, he was also Proportional member of the UML but he formally entered the Nepali Congress right before the last parliamentary election seeking bigger portion to fulfill his dream of being a minister and then became a Parliamentary Member on proportional quota.

Meanwhile, Chaudhary, who had a close relationship with former finance minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari for decades, did not obey any of the UML leader until a decade ago. He did not even consider it necessary to give any value to KP Sharma Oli before he became the UML president from the ninth General Assembly and prime minister for the first time.

He rejected the proposal of UML to give candidacy for direct election from Nawalparasi Area No. 1 in the second Constituent Assembly election. Stating that he was not interested in direct election, he expressed his desire for Area No. 2 if he had to give candidacy. Being the candidate of Nawalparasi Area No. 1, he must had to be in UML on the cover but he did not actually want to oppose Sashank Koirala, the son of BP under any circumstances.

Due to this, he worked day and night and been publicized in the previous parliamentary elections as an industrialist, celebrity and future finance minister on behalf of the Nepali Congress. As the saying goes, “what can be done when the luck is down”, he became Proportional MP on behalf of the Congress, but the congress suffered the worst defeat in the history resulting on its position as the weakest opposition.

On the other hand, KP Sharma Oli, whom he had never expressed any value in the past, became a powerful prime minister after the UML and the UCPN (Maoist) won a two-thirds majority. This was the biggest ‘set back’ of the billionaire and MP Chaudhary in his lifetime.

Chaudhary had succeeded in introducing a retrograde system in BAFIA while it was still under consideration in the parliament four years ago. After that, the question mark raised on the then Governor Khatiwada about the legitimacy of NB International’s investment in Nabil Bank and its return was automatically removed.

A decade ago, when the current finance minister, Yuvraj Khatiwada, was governor, NB International was banned from taking dividends abroad. But after adding a retrograde system in BAFIA, the blockade was lifted. Since then, the NB has continued to take millions of foreign currency from its dividends to Dhaka without any restriction, including that from all those banned years.

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It is also being revealed that the ban on the dividends was not due to the personal desire of Kathiwada. The recent events prove that he had simply obeyed someone’s orders at that time. The Finance Minister has been reluctant to repeal the latest provisions, inserted in BAFIA by Chaudhary using various means and measures, which contradict with NRB Act, Foreign Exchange Management Act and the Monetary Policy and Directives of the Central Bank that were in effect for many years. The reluctances that he has shown in the BAFIA amendment for the last two and half year is not only incomprehensible but also mysterious.

After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a majority in the neighborhood, Chaudhary has suddenly had a special relationship with BJP’s bigshots, Pandit Ravi Shankar and Baba Ramdev. In a similar vein, Chaudhary, through Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, has long been warning Finance Minister Khatiwada about the special provisions added to the BAFIA, which is currently under consideration in Parliament for amendments.

Sources claim that the Ministry has submitted in the parliament without any amendment in the said provision of BAFIA, as the result of the same alert. Khatiwada, who has had a close relationship with Koshiyari since he did his PhD at the Delhi School of Economics, eventually became the Finance Minister enforced by the same relationship. Khatiwada, who is likely to remain in the ministry till 20th Bhadra at the latest, is sure to take concrete initiatives not to pass BAFIA until he remains in the post.

Meanwhile, Chaudhary also decided to write an autobiography a few years ago after concluding that almost all his problems were solved. In one place in the same autobiography, he mentions that the main source of his prosperity and financial success is ‘crooked finger, not straight finger’. Chaudhary’s gesture has been interpreted by many including the Rastra Bank and government bodies as the investment made in Nabil in the name of NB International and its return.

During the Panchayat period, when the Wai Wai factory established in Syhambhu, Lalitpur and the then Arab Bank was transformed into Nabil Bank, it was suspected that the player behind the shares bought by NB International was different. Chaudhary has been accused of working as a proxy for the then royal family in all these investments.

Not to mention that after the Royal Massacre, the questions of invisible Royal investment upon him also were raised. To support the same allegations and suspicions, the Chaudhary group’s president, dollar billionaire and MP had spent a long time in India after the Royal massacre, adding fuel to the accusations and suspicions.


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