Prime Cooperative fraud: Seven sent to judicial custody


By Phadindra Adhikari

Lekhnath, June 22: Seven individuals have been sent to judicial custody on the charge of embezzling funds from Prime Co-operative Society Limited located in Gairapatan of Pokhara Metropolitan City-4, Kaski. 

A single bench of judge Ram Chandra Sharma of the Kaski District Court issued an order on Thursday in the case involving the misappropriation of over Rs. 1.5 billion.

The Chief Executive Officer of Prime Co-operative Society Limited, Surendra Mani Paudel, considered the mastermind behind the fraud, Manager Niru Thapa, and both current and former members of the management committee have been detained. The Kaski District Government Attorney's Office filed charge sheets against 65 individuals on June 9.

Of the nine individuals who appeared in the court, two were released on bail. 

According to the order, the 

Court has sought a bail amount of Rs. 3.5 million from shareholder and advisor Mana Bahadur Gurung and Rs. 100,000 from Santosh Ghimire, 

former National Cooperative Bank employee. While Gurung was released upon paying the bail, Ghimire 

remains in jail due to another cooperative fraud case.

Former Chairman of Prime Cooperative Nidesh Prasad Koirala and current Chairman Shankar Karki, former Treasurer Kuldeep Bhattarai, Loan Officer Sunil Thapa, and Uttam Magar have also been ordered to be sent to judicial custody, according to Information Officer Suraj Adhikari.

A complaint filed by Balaram Chapagain and others has led to charges against 65 individuals, seeking imprisonment of eight to 10 years and recovery of Rs. 1.57 billion. Fifty-six individuals are still at large.

The prosecution, represented by Assistant District Attorney Shantidevi Sharma and Assistant District Attorney Bipin Raj Tiwari, and on the defendants' side, about 18 lawyers, debated the case for three days.

The police have investigated and registered cases against seven cooperatives in Kaski, revealing an embezzlement of Rs. 4.59 billion, in the current fiscal year.

Out of 189 defendants in these cases, 119 are at large, and 28 are currently in judicial custody. Another 28 have been released on bail as per the orders of the District and High Courts.

In the fraud case, eight government employees, some auditors, former chairpersons, a provincial government secretary and a cooperative registrar are found involved. 

Kaski Police Chief Superintendent Mohan Kumar Thapa said that the search for the remaining fugitives was going on.

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