HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Metropolitan police’s recent raids on jewellery shops in Bishal Bazaar have not gone well with a section of senior police officials, who have dubbed them a publicity stunt.
With orders from SSP Jaya Bahadur Chand, in-charge at the Metropolitan Police Range, Hanumandhoka, a police team under DSP Arun Kumar BC had kept an overnight vigil on three jewellery shops and raided them on Wednesday after plainclothes cops arrested Pitamar Paswan of Motihari with one kg gold in Kalanki on Tuesday.
Police said Paswan had failed to show a purchase bill of the yellow metal retrieved from his body during a search. The MPR had decided to keep the jewellery shops under a close watch after Paswan told police that he had bought the gold from the shop of Balkrishna Agrawal and that there was still 10 kg gold. Paswan is said to have told interrogators that he was on his way to hand over the gold to Prabhu Sarraf, a Birgunj-based businessman.
Subsequently, the police team raided three jewellery shops, including Agrawal’s, but did not find illegal gold, though it recovered Rs 12.9 million and Rs 17.5 million from the gold shops of Agrawal and Pawan Kumar Sonami, while it could not retrieve anything from Shop no. 21 at Bishal Bazaar. MPR officials have said they raided the shops under the direction of Metropolitan Police Commissioner AIG Kuber Singh Rana.
Rana maintained that MPR can carry out search operations on its own and does not require any order to do so. “Acting on intelligence inputs, the MPR raided the jewellery shops on its own discretion,” he informed.
A section of senior officials are not happy with what they call SSP Chand’s ‘publicity stunt’. “MPR should have mobilised detectives to establish whether there was illegal transaction of gold. Instead, it raided the jewellery shops in a hurry on the basis of Paswan’s statement. It is not usual to find Rs 10 million or more money in wholesale gold shops when one tola of precious metal is fetching around Rs 57,000,” a senior police official said, accusing the MPR of trying to send a panic wave amongst the business community.
On his part, SSP Jaya Bahadur Chand argued that it was duty of police to raid the suspected jewellery shops following Paswan’s arrest with the yellow metal. MPR officials said they seized the cash after the traders failed to divulge the source of money. On Friday, MPR tried to hand over the seized cash to the Department of Revenue Investigation, but DRI refused, saying the matter is not under its jurisdiction. MPR said it will submit the cash to the Department of Money Laundering Investigation tomorrow.