The Special Court has sent former chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Deep Basnyat to judicial custody for further investigation in the Lalita Niwas land grab case.

A joint bench of Special Court’s Chief Prem Raj Karki along with justices Abdul Aziz Musalman and Nitya Nanda Pandey gave the order on Sunday.

Basnyat has been ordered to be kept in custody until a final verdict on the case is made.

On February 5, CIAA had filed a case of corruption amounting to Rs 96.57 million against Basnyat as well as 175 other individuals, alleging their involvement in irregularities during his tenure as the Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Construction in 2010.

Basnyat has been sent to Dillibazar prison after the Special Court denied him bail.

Other accused in the case include former deputy prime minister and Nepali Congress Vice-president Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, former ministers Dambar Shrestha and Chandra Dev Joshi, Rukma Shumsher JB Rana and his family members.

Basnyat, meanwhile, is accused of taking a decision that helped transfer Lalita Niwas (government-owned) land to individuals (private).

The land covering Lalita Niwas in Baluwatar of Kathmandu was lawfully acquired by the government during the Panchayat regime by paying compensation to its former owner Rukma Shumsher JB Rana.

However, after the restoration of democracy in 1990, the land was distributed to private individuals by creating fake tenants under the influence of ministers, government officials, and middlemen.

The case is infamously known as Baluwatar land scam.

Besides the corruption charge, Basnyat is also being investigated by the Department of Money Laundering Investigation for his involvement in money laundering for transferring money to foreign countries.