Kathmandu: Indian casino King Rakesh
Wadhwa`s business interests in Nepal has suffered a fresh
setback with the Supreme Court rejecting his plea to stay a
government order which scrapped his licence to run casinos in
the Himalayan nation.
The apex court had on Monday rejected Wadhwa`s demand to
issue a stay order against the Ministry of Tourism and Civil
Aviation (MOTCA), which had scrapped the license to Nepal
Recreation Centre (NRC) to operate casinos for his alleged
failure to pay taxes amounting to more than Rs 21 crore.
However, the court decision would not annul the
licenses issued to the respective hotels to operate casinos,
Legal officer of Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation,
Ranjan Aryal, said.
Now it is upto the hotels to decide how they would
like to operate the casinos, he added.
It is learnt that after the ministry`s move to annul
NRC`s authority to operate casinos, the hotels have appointed
new managements to operate the business.
NRC, which operated four casinos in Kathmandu, owes
more than NRs 34 crore (Rs 21 crore) to the government in the
form of royalties.
Wadhwa was the Managing Director of NRC which
operated Casino Nepal in the premises of Hotel Soaltee Crowne
Plaza, Casino Anna in the Hotel Annapurna, Casino Tara in
Hotel Hyatt and Casino Everest in the Everest Hotel.
The ministry had issued a seven days notice to clear
all dues to NRC on June 18 and warned that the NRC`s authority
to run casinos will be annulled failing to pay the dues.
Now the NRC has ceased to exist, according to
Ministry of Tourism.
Wadhwa must pay the dues even after the NRC`s
authority to operate the casinos is annulled, Aryal said.
The government issued the ultimatum to Wadhwa as the
NRC has not paid royalties for the last 5-6 years, he added.
The government has recently issued a notice for
auctioning the land belonging to NRC in the premises of Hotel
Soaltee Crowne Plaza to clear the dues.
Wadhwa has been absconding and staying in Delhi for
the past 5-6 months after the government issued arrest warrant
for failing to pay crores of rupees in royalty.
The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation had
issued a letter to NRC in 1994 which authorizes the
organisation to operate casinos in Nepal.
In fact, the five star hotels are issued the license
to operate casinos which are handed to the casino management
on contract basis for running the casinos.