ACC still assessing property value of JPLP to recover Nu 74.61 m

Puran Gurung/ Thimphu Following the verdict of the Supreme Court’s to seize properties of Jatan Prasad Lal- Chand (JPLP) departmental store in Phuentsholing to recover the remaining penalty of Nu 74.61 m imposed on JPLP. As the owner of JPLP Lal Chand was out on bail and at large, his properties in Phuentsholing was seized by Anti-Corruption Commission. “We are still assessing the property value of JPLP,” said Anti-Corruption Commission’s commissioner Jamtsho. He also added, “For the complete valuation of the property it involves many stakeholders – Ministry of Finance, Thromde Authority, National Land Commission among other, so it will take time.” The Supreme Court on May 29, 2021, convicted Lal Chand Prasad for tax evasion and imposed a fine of Nu 154.61 m. He was sentenced to five years of non-compoundable prison term. As charged by the ACC, the Indian national doing business in Bhutan was found guilty for tax evasion, deflection of goods, false invoicing and declaration of goods. Lal Chand was imposed a penalty of Nu 154.61 m, he had paid Nu 80 m as bailout amount and he still has to pay the government Nu 74.61 m, to recover this as the owner is at large, ACC seized all his properties. According to the Supreme Court, JPLP evaded tax amounting to Nu 38.98 m between 2011 and 2014. Including the penalty for concealment and 24 percent per annum interest for late payment, he was ordered to pay a total amount of Nu 154.61 m to the state. Imprisoned for about three months in Phuentsholing starting June 17, 2015, the businessman later fled after paying bailout money amounting to Nu 80 m. With still Nu 74.61 m left to recover, Anti-Corruption Commission seized JPLP properties. The properties will be publicly auctioned. Lal Chand's properties were confiscated after he failed to deposit the penalty and interest for late payment to the state as per the Supreme Court's order.