Kathmandu, November 3
Department of Money Laundering Investigation has formed an investigation team to probe the legitimacy of the assets and money of 25 persons, who were arrested for illegal gambling from a house in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu.
Police, on October 27, had confiscated Rs 26.7 million in cash and a cheque worth Rs 300,000 from the gambling den, which was operated at the house of Bikram Gautam. This was the first ever case, when police seized such a huge amount from a gambling spot.
All the 25 arrested from the site are under police custody as per the order issued by Kathmandu District Administration Office.
Rup Narayan Bhattarai, Director General of DoMLI said, “We have formed a team to investigate the source of the assets belonging to the accused and the legitimacy of these sources,” Bhattarai said. He added they were looking into the case at the request of Nepal Police.
Suspecting that the arrestees might have amassed a huge sum of money and property through illegal means, police submitted its investigation report to the DoMLI yesterday. Police also urged the DoMLI in writing to investigate the sources and legitimacy of their assets and money, according to Deputy Superintendent of Police at Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, Hobindra Bogati.
Chief District Officer has the power to sentence the gamblers to jail as per existing laws. Cases of social offences are adjudicated by the CDO.
Section 125 (a) of the new penal code imposes a jail term not exceeding three months and a fine not exceeding 30,000 on gamblers, and those who provide the place to gamblers. Section 125 (b) has jail term not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding Rs 50,000 on repeat offenders, who have committed the crime for the second time. After the second time, the repeat offenders will face additional jail term up to three months and fine up to Rs 10,000 each time.
Among the arrested is Balaram Sapkota, aka Bale, also known as ‘casino king’ as per the police.
Earlier, 11 of the arrestees had filed a habeas corpus petition at the Supreme Court stating that their detention was illegal. The court, however, quashed their plea.
Meanwhile, District Administration Office, Kathmandu, has extended police custody of the arrested by seven days. After completing investigation, police will file a case at Kathmandu DAO.
A version of this article appears in print on November 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.