Five arrested with rare ‘chung Dzi’ beads

Kathmandu, September 13

Police have nabbed five suspects, including two Bhutanese nationals, with a cache of rare ‘chung Dzi’ beads being smuggled to Bhutan via India.

Those arrested are D Dorje Lama, 38, and Chhiring Lama, 32, of Phuncholing, Bhutan and Asit Saibo, 31, Naheer Ali, 38, and Saroh Gurung, 30, of Siliguri, India.

A police team led by DSP Ramesh Thapa chased down suspects in possession of the rare Tibetan beads they robbed from Upendra Lamichhane of Bhaktapur, an agent at Bouddha, and intercepted them in Bhimphedi, Makwanpur yesterday.

Police have confiscated fake 56,700 US dollars and 24 rare beads from them. The Tibetan beads are two eyed, three eyed, four eyed and six eyed. Police said the beads could fetch more than 10 million rupees in the grey market. The counterfeit US dollars seized from them are in the denomination of 100.

SSP Sarbendra Khanal, in-charge at the Metropolitan Police Crime Division, said police had launched a manhunt for the suspects based on information that a gang of five persons had held Lamichhane captive in room no 216 of Chhorten Hotel and decamped with the rare Tibetan beads.

“A police team reached the hotel, while another team followed the jeep they were using to cross the Nepal-India boarder. Finally, we managed to arrest the gang from Bhimphedi with the backing of local police,” he informed. The gang had fled the crime scene, leaving Lamichhane. They had gagged Lamichhane and tied his limbs.

SSP Khanal said the Bhutanese and Indian nationals came to Kathmandu masquerading as clients. “The mastermind of this incident is said to be one Atisa Batia of Thimpu, Bhutan. He had sent two fellow citizens and Indians to Kathmandu with the fake US dollar bills,” he said. They stayed in a hotel in Bouddha for a week to find prospective bead sellers.

Lamichhane collected 15 beads from one Naresh Agrawal, a businessman in the capital, and had reached a deal with the gang to sell the beads for 56,700 US dollars. “But the gang overpowered Lamichhane and made off with the rare Tibetan beads,” said SSP Khanal.

As per the preliminary investigation of the police, Batia had promised to provide D Dorje one million and others Rs 300,000 each for the work. The fake dollar has been sent to Nepal Rastra Bank for further investigation.