Shooter among five arrested; extortion was the motive: Police

Kathmandu, November 14

More than a month after the broad daylight murder of Sharad Kumar Gauchan, police on Tuesday claimed to have apprehended suspects who were directly involved in his killing.

Gauchan, 60, president of the Federation of Contractors’ Association of Nepal, was gunned down by armed motorcyclists on Prayag Marg, Kathmandu, on October 9 when he was on the way to his Baneshwor-based office from his residence in Shantinagar.

DIG Ganesh KC, who headed a seven-member special probe panel formed by Nepal Police, said five murder suspects were arrested from Kathmandu and other districts separately. Those arrested are: Rajiv Syangtan (21) of Nuwakot; Shivaji Mahato (35), and Santosh Gurung (18) of Parsa; Mukesh Kumar Pandey (24) of Bihar, India; and Prakash Budhathoki (22) of Nagarjun Municipality, Kathmandu.

“Syangtan was one of the two shooters who fired two shots at Gauchan. We made optimum use of technology and human intelligence to trace their whereabouts,” he said. He added that Gauchan had been under surveillance for about a month before being shot dead for allegedly refusing to pay extortion money.

Mahato brought a stolen motorcycle and pistols from Betiya in Bihar and sold them to the gangsters for Rs 24,000 and Rs 65,000, respectively. The suspects used a fake registration number plate — Ba 35 Pa 2461 — on the motorcycle at the time of shooting. Pandey, Gurung and Budhathoki helped the shooters escape the crime scene.

Police have not given details of the second bike used in the shooting.

Eight other suspects — Samirman Singh Basnet, Manoj Pun, Lopsang Lama, Ganga Lingden aka Boka, Shyam Bahadur Gumbe (deserter from Nepali Army), Abmar Bahadur Rana aka Kale Dai (deserter from NA), Roshan Budhathoki and Ajay Thapa — are still at large and police said plainclothes cops were looking for them. Rana is said to be the other shooter.

Police Commissioner AIG Jaya Bahadur Chand said Basnet, a Bafal-based gangster and a close aide to Kumar Shrestha, aka Ghainte, killed in police action in 2015, masterminded the murder. Basnet and his henchmen were constantly threatening Gauchan over phone for refusing to pay extortion money, but the victim never lodged a complaint with police. Of the others absconding, Pun had allegedly shot CPN-UML-aligned Youth Federation Nepal leader Durga Tiwari dead in Rupandehi last year. The gang is notorious for extorting from contractors and businesspersons.

“Preliminary investigation suggests extortion as the motive for the murder. We have not put the investigation to an end because the prime suspects are still absconding. Police are investigating the case from several angles,” AIG Chand said.

Police said both the pistols used in the shooting were recovered and those arrested have been charged with murder.


5 persons arrested in connection to Sharad Kumar Gauchan's murder

KATHMANDU: Police on Tuesday said five persons have been arrested on charge of murdering a contractor Sharad Kumar Gauchan near kharibot in Baneshwor area, recently.

Gauchan, a permanent resident of Kaski Pokhara Lekhnath Metropolitan City-9 was residing at Shantinagar in KMC-31.

Earlier, he was shot dead on a broad day light in the heart of Kathmandu.

Police Commissioner Jaya Bahadur Chand organising a press meet today in Kathmandu made them public.

Police identified the suspects as 21-year-old Rajiv Santyang of Panchakanya Rural Municipality-5 in Nuwakot district, 35-year-old Shivaji Mahato of Kalikamai Rural Municipality-1 in Parsa district, 18-year-old Santosh Gurung of Thori Rural Municpality in Parsa district, 22-year-old Prakash Budathoki of Nagarjun Municipality in Kathmandu and 24-year-old Mukesh Pandey of Betiya Gram Panchyat Chaubetola-7 in Bihar of India.

Police have presented the suspects before the Kathmandu District Court and remanded to custody for 30 days. Police are preparing to file a case under organised crime against them.

However, the other suspects Sameerman Singh Basnet, Manoj Pun, Lopsang, Ganga Lingden (Limbu), Shyam Bahadur Gumbe, Ambar Bahadur Rana, Roshan Budathoki and Ajay Thapa are at large.

Meanwhile, police said they are searching the absconding suspects.