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“New Nepal” smugglers’ haven

High ranking police officials in gold smuggling
By Our Reporter
More high level police officials have been dragged into the mysterious gold smuggling case when the probe committee formed to investigate into the case started it work. By this week as many as 28 persons, including alleged gold racketeers and six officers of the Nepal Police have been arrested.
The smuggling case in which 33.5 kilograms of smuggled gold had made an easy entry into the country through the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), in the first week of February 2018, has become more mysterious as the probe committee and the arrested alleged gold racketeers have not yet confirmed the whereabouts of the gold smuggled in Nepal from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Moreover, it is likely to expose the corrupt practice prevalent in the Nepal Police and dragged more police officers including former IGPs into the scam.
DSP Prajeet KC of the Metropolitan Police Crime Division (MPCD), Teku of Kathmandu, was the latest police officer arrested in the case. The District Police Office, Morang arrested KC who had gone to investigate into the case in Biratnagar. He was earlier implicated in the case.  Actually, he was believed to have gone to Biratnagar to hide the body of Sanam Shakya, the gold carrier who was killed by the smugglers for losing the gold.
Of course, the smuggling of 33.5 kilos of gold came to light following the death of Shakya, a gold carrier of Urlabari, Morang. His body was found inside a Scorpio jeep with registration No. Ba 12 Cha 5963.
The investigation committee, led by Joint Secretary Ishwor Raj Paudel of the Ministry of Home Affairs, has already detained former DIG Govinda Niraula, SP Bikash Raj Khanal of Makwanpur District Police Office, DSP Sanjay Raut, Sub-Inspector Balkrishna Sanjel and Bishnu Khadka, police personnel and driver of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shyam Khatri.
SSP Khatri was earlier implicated in another 33-kg gold scam of February 5, 2017. The Kathmandu District Court, however, later released him on Rs. 100,000 bail.
In the latest 33.5 kg gold smuggling case, SSP Khatri was again found involved after the police detained his driver Bishnu Khadka.
SSP Khatri has been on the run since the police called him for an interrogation over the case.
The committee as well as the Home Ministry is likely to explore the connection between the gold smugglers and police officers as former DIG and lawmaker Nawaraj Silwal has supported them to reach the depth of the smuggling. As such, former IGP Prakash Aryal may also be dragged in the case.
Silwal was denied the post of IGP for confiscating 33 kg gold from outside the airport in 2017
By now, the probe committee has arrested Mahabir Golyan, Bhujung Gurung, Balkrishna Shrestha, Kapilraj Puri, Gopal Kumar Shrestha, Doram Khatri, Sambir Prasad Tolange, Hemanta Gautam, Punya Prasad Lama, Birendra Shrestha, Lekthnath Neupane, Lal Bahadur Magar and Raju Maharjan.
The police have also arrested Mohan Kafle, Narendra Kari, Tekraj Malla Thakuri, Lakpa Sherpa, Madan Prasad Ghimire alia Madhav, six police officers, both incumbent and former, among others.
They are in the custody of the Morang District Police Office.
Two suspects have already committed suicide. They are Sanu Ban, a loader at the TIA, and police constable Prem Raj Chaudhary, who committed suicide inside a police cell while in custody.
Chuda Mani Upreti aka Gore is the alleged ringleader of the gold smuggling racket, who is said to have murdered Shakya after the smuggled gold he was carrying disappeared before reaching its destination. He is still on the run.

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