Interpol Red Notice likely to be issued for arrest of absconders

Kathmandu, May 25

The special probe committee led by joint secretary Ishwar Raj Paudel at the Ministry of Home Affair is preparing to request the National Central Bureau to proceed with issuance of Interpol Red Notice against some high-profile absconding accused involved in gold smuggling.

NCB, a division of the concerned national police agency, serves as a contact point for the Interpol in 192 member countries, enabling them to work together on cross-border crime investigations and exchange information related to criminals and suspects. The Interpol General Secretariat, France, circulates red notices for the arrest and deportation of criminals and suspects on the recommendation of member countries after verification of their details.

The probe panel did groundwork to resort to the Red Notice after the law enforcement agency could not find the whereabouts of some of the main suspects in the country.  Those likely to face Red Notice are SSP Shyam Bahadur Khatri, Harisharan Khadka, Chhiring Gurung, Chetan Bhandari, Ramesh Upreti, Mohan Kumar Agrawal and Sunil Agrawal.

The government had filed a charge-sheet against 63 persons, including 32 in absentia, at Morang District Court. The seven suspects are among the absconders.

Chudamani Upreti aka Gore, the alleged kingpin of the racket, had told the probe panel that the ongoing investigation could head in the right direction only after the arrest of SSP Khatri, Mohan Kumar and others. SSP Khatri, then deputy police chief at Tribhuvan International Airport, had received around Rs 12 million from Gore on different occasions for assisting in gold smuggling via the airport.

Earlier too, the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police had arrested SSP Khatri for investigation into the seizure of 33.5 kg gold from TIA last year. Though he was charged with organised crime, Kathmandu District Court acquitted him, paving the way for him to return to work.

Gore and his associates, in cahoots with jewellers, police and customs officials, had managed to smuggle around 3,800 kg gold with market value of over Rs 17 billion from Dubai through TIA in 421 trips since 2015. The smuggling of such a huge amount of gold unfolded after Gore and his henchmen electrocuted Sanam Shakya to death for allegedly disappearing 33 kg gold smuggled from Dubai in the third week of January.