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14 banking fraudsters arrested

By Our Reporter
The police, in its largest ever sweep on the banking sector’s irregularities, arrested 14 former board members of Apex Development Bank, which had merged with the National Credit and Commerce Bank (NCCB), in three days beginning from Friday.
The alleged banking fraudsters were arrested from the board meeting held at the NCCB’s Bagbazaar-based head office on Friday morning. The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) raided the NCCB and detained them directly from the board meeting spot.
14 persons, a staff member of the Citizens Investment Fund, were arrested on Sunday in connection to the case.
Police nabbed them on the alleged charge of financial irregularities worth Rs. 1.59 billion after Apex Bank which later went into a merger with the NCCB. The Apex bank staff, especially the board members, had issued loans worth billions of rupees by creating artificial debtors against weak collateral by showing useless land property before merger with NCCB.
The CIB took the action at the instruction of the Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank of the country.
Police said the board members were also found to be preparing fake income source so as to draw loans, said police.
The arrested included Bishnu Dhital, former chairman of Apex Development Bank and present board member of the NCCB. Other arrested board members include Ichchha Bahadur Gurung, Suwarna Raj Bhandari, Madhuwan Lal Shrestha, former Chief Executive Officer Rishi Raj Bhatta, former assistant manager Durga Dutta Joshi, former deputy general manager Ramchandra Basaula, former branch manager Bikas Shrestha, former branch manager of Lokanthali Sagar Neupane, former branch manager Man Bahadur Raut, former general manager Binit Mani Upadhaya, former loan officer Mohan Kharel and former branch manager Sudeep Thapa.
Assistant manager Chhabi Raman Adhikari of the CIF was arrested on Sunday.
Adhikari was also a former member of the board of directors of Apex bank.
After Apex merged with the NCC, Adhikari had joined the Fund.
All those arrested are being interrogated by the police after seeking a seven days’ remand order from the Kathmandu District Court.
The Nepal Rastra Bank has clarified that the fraud case, which was related to the Apex Bank, will not affect banking service provided by NCC Bank.

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