Cops told to arrest SSP Khatri on sight

Kathmandu, May 1

Nepal Police headquarters today issued a circular to all its units, directing them to arrest on sight Senior Superintendent of Police Shyam Khatri.

SSP Khatri’s chauffeur and constable Bishnu Khadka was taken into custody after he was found assisting his boss in the gold smuggling scam.

SSP Khatri has allegedly been absconding since a probe committee led by joint secretary Ishwar Raj Paudel at the Ministry of Home Affairs summoned him for interrogation in connection with the February 2 murder of Sanam Shakya, 36, an alleged carrier of smuggled gold, in Morang and the disappearance of 33 kg precious yellow metal.

Earlier too, the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police had arrested SSP Khatri for  investigation into the seizure of 33.5 kg gold from Tribhuvan International Airport last year.

SSP Khatri, who is now posted at the Department of Crime Investigation, was deputy in-charge at the TIA police then. Though he was charged with organised crime, Kathmandu District Court acquitted him paving the way for him to return to work.

A source at the NP headquarters said SSP Khatri was declared an absconder with the issuance of the circular for his arrest.

Earlier, former DIG Govinda Niraula, erstwhile police chief of Tribhuvan International Airport, SP Bikashraj Khanal, DSPs Prajit KC and Sanjay Raut and sub-inspectors Bal Krishna Sanjel and Gajendra Rawal were arrested and sent to District Police Office, Morang, for legal action as Shakya was murdered in the district. They have been charged with murder and organised crime.

SSP Dibesh Lohani at Metropolitan Police Crime Division has already been relieved of his  responsibility for investigation into the murder and disappearance of the gold. SSP Lohani, DSP KC and sub-inspector Sanjel were among the cops assigned for investigation into Shakya’s murder.

A home ministry official said 28 persons, including senior cops, had been arrested for investigation so far. The ministry treated this incident seriously on suspicion that some police officials acted in collusion with gold smugglers to kill Shakya, 36, of Morang and hide the gold he was carrying. Chudamani Uprety aka Gore, the mastermind behind the gold smuggling, is absconding and was allegedly assisted by the cops to escape.

The  gold was smuggled to Nepal from Dubai by Uprety during the last week of January before handing it to Shakya, said the source. The probe committee has yet to find the whereabouts of the gold and suspects that it was divided among some cops and smugglers after murdering Shakya.

According to the probe committee, over 3,000 kilograms of gold were smuggled by various criminal networks in the past two years against the seizure of only 300 kg.