MPCD to conclude gold smuggling probe

Kathmandu, August 14

The Ministry of Home Affairs has entrusted Metropolitan Police Crime Division with the task of completing investigation into the March 2 murder of Sanam Shakya and disappearance of 33 kilograms of smuggled gold.

A special probe committee led by joint secretary Ishwar Raj Paudel, which submitted its 752-page report to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on August 2, had recommended that the government continue with the investigation into the murder, gold smuggling and hundi business by forming a task force of permanent nature or assigning this responsibility to any unit of Nepal Police.

SSP Police Dhiraj Pratap Singh told THT that MPCD would complete the remaining investigation and take it to a conclusion as recommended by the report. The investigation by the special probe committee formed on April 3 exposed a wide network of gold smugglers, including police officials. Since then charge-sheets have been filed against 75 people, including nine serving and former police officials, at Morang District Court. As many as 30 defendants are still at large.

MPCD will now focus on arresting the absconding defendants and tracing whereabouts of the disappeared precious metal which the committee failed to find during its four-month probe period. The report had also recommended investigation of 293 more suspects in connection with gold smuggling and hundi. The names of the suspects have not been mentioned in the report, citing it could affect future probe.

The committee had said that the ‘lost’ gold ‘may have been circulated in the market or smuggled to India’. The owner of the ‘lost’ gold was Mohan Kumar Agrawal, while Bimal Poddar, Raju Daruka, Bhujung Gurung and others were involved in its smuggling, it stated. Agrawal is still at large. As per the report, the mastermind behind the gold smuggling ring was Chudamani Upreti aka Gorey. The ring had managed to smuggle around 3,800 kg gold worth over Rs 17 billion from Dubai through TIA since 2015.

“We will request Nepal Police Headquarters for additional human resources for the purpose of the investigation as per necessity,” SSP Singh said.

Big fish arrested, says home minister 

KATHMANDU: Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa on Tuesday claimed that the special probe committee was successful in dismantling the racket which smuggled 3,800 kg gold into Nepal from abroad.

“Big fish, including the mastermind and investors, and police officials who worked in collusion with them, have been brought under the investigation for legal action. Some of them are in judicial remand while others are at large. We are searching for the absconders.

This probe focused on only one group, not all,” he told Sustainable Development and Good Governance Committee of the Federal Parliament.