Nepalese telecom service provider Smart Telecom has become embroiled in a dispute over its legal ownership, after a group that claimed to have purchased a 54% equity stake in the telco appointed a chairman to its board. Smart Telecom is planning to launch a nationwide mobile GSM network to augment its wireless in the local loop (WiLL) fixed telephony operations. However, in the wake of the surprise announcement, eKantipur reports that its sitting chairman Sachin Lal Acharya has denied that any stake sale has taken place, adding that the founders have complete ownership of the company. As it stands, Singapore-based Lal Sahu Distribution holds an 80% stake in Smart Telecom, while Square Network Nepal has 20%, he said. Specifically, Mr Acharya denied a report claiming that Dipak Timalsina – and representing River Road International Limited – had been appointed as the new chairman of Smart Telecom at its sixth annual general meeting (AGM). The chairman went on to accuse the River Road group of ‘changing the ownership using forged signatures of him and Satish Acharya, the owner of Lal Sahu Distribution’, the paper said. For its part, River Road is adamant that it has taken a 54%. The matter is currently being investigated and Acharya says he has filed complaints of forgery with the police, the Lalitpur District Administration Office, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, the Department of Industry and the Company Registrar’s Office.