Extortion, robbery plot foiled; four in police net
KATHMANDU, June 30
Police today said they have foiled a plot by a group which was planning to extort as many businesspersons as they can in the capital city by threatening them at gunpoint.
DSP Arjun Ranabhat, in-charge of the Metropolitan Police Circle, Balaju informed that a special tip helped the law enforcement unit bust an armed gang of four led by a former Maoist combatant and avert their crime plot. The detainees are Jaya Bahadur Gharti, 36, Khem Prakash Budha Magar, 26, and Ganendra Bahadur Gharti, 41, of Rolpa and Soman Gurung, 31, of Gorkha.
“A special team of the MPC laid an ambush and intercepted a car (Ba 6 Cha 115) they were travelling in at Goldhunga, based on information that the armed gang was heading for an undisclosed place for robbery and extortion attempts,” he said. Police have confiscated a US made pistol, a magazine, five rounds of bullet and the car. They had hatched a plot to ‘target businesspersons and real estate brokers in the post-disaster situation when the land transaction is on an upward track’.
A preliminary investigation report shows that Jaya Bahadur and his associates had brought the loaded pistol to Kathmandu from Rolpa some two weeks ago after they identified their potential targets and premeditated the plan. Jaya Bahadur told police that he had quit the Maoist party in 2003 and kept the pistol with him. He said he had kept the pistol hidden in a forested area of Rolpa.
“Jaya Bahadur who was possessing the pistol had tried to aim the weapon at the police personnel before they took him under control. Had we not taken precautionary action, the gang could have inflict damage on us,” DSP Ranabhat said. The gang had been living in Gongabu and Balaju area for one year and claimed that they were planning to ‘purchase land on the outskirts of Kathmandu for organic farming’.
Soman, who was car driver, told police that he had hired the vehicle to Jaya Bahadur, Khem Prakash and Ganendra Bahadur and pleaded not guilty of working with them. DSP Ranabhat said police have launched an investigation to establish their link to criminal activities reported in and outside Kathmandu in the past. “They have not cooperated with us to help us identify their targets. We have appealed to all to report to police in case of receiving any extortion threats in recent times,” he said.
They have been charged under the Arms and Ammunition Act, 1962.