KATHMANDU: Following widespread criticism from different quarters about the Government’s plan to sell the Nepali Embassy building in London, the government has mentioned that the government has not taken any decision to this effect.
In their written reply to the Supreme Court Nepal´s ambassador to the UK, Suresh Chalise, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) have stated that the government has not taken any decision to sell off the property. Acting upon a writ petition filed by Gurkha Army Ex-servicemen´s Organization (GAESO), the Supreme Court has asked them to furnish written explanation on why they intend to sell the Embassy building.
In a separate written clarification sent to the apex court last week, they have urged the SC to scrap the petition stating that the government had formed a high-level study committee to recommend appropriate measures for the management of the embassy premises. “The committee was not formed to sell off the embassy property,” reads a three-page written clarification sent by Chalise.
He has also dismissed the claim made by the writ petitioners that the embassy premises were gifted by the UK government to Nepal. “In reality, the building in a leasehold property not a freehold property,” Chalise has stated.
A cabinet meeting held on October 18, 2012 had formed a high level committee to submit a detailed report on the status of the embassy properties, determine the price that Nepal may receive, if government decides to sell off the lease of embassy premises, possible legal complications and estimated budget for building or buying new premises.
The apex court on April 15 had stayed the government´s preparations to sell off Nepal´s embassy premises in London.
Gurkha Army Ex-servicemen´s Organization (GAESO) and advocate Tulasi Shimkada on April 1 had filed separate writ petitions at the SC, challenging government preparations to sell off the embassy premises.
A bilateral agreement reached between the two governments says Nepal shall pay 500 pounds annually as lease for the first 25 years, 1,000 pounds for 25-50 years, 1,500 pounds for 50-75 years and 2,000 pounds a year for 75 to 99 years.
The prime minister´s office and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Finance, among others, are named as defendants in the writ petitions.
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