New law to be tough on absconders

Kathmandu, December 15

The Criminal Code Bill has incorporated a tough provision against people who go into hiding after being issued arrest warrant by the court.

This law will come into effect from September 17, 2018. Section 65 of the bill says, “If a person does not appear in the court within 30 days from the date of issuance of arrest warrant against him/her or if he/she could not be arrested within the period, he/she shall be liable to serious consequences.”

If he/she is an office-bearer or employee of the federal, provincial or local government or any organisation fully or partially owned by the government, he/she shall be suspended automatically. Similarly, all his/her immovable property shall be withheld.

“In the meantime, the renewal process of any business and industry, if any, registered in the absconder’s name shall be kept pending,” it reads. Remuneration, allowance, pension, gratuity and other services and facilities of the absconder shall also be withheld automatically.

“The concerned agency shall not issue citizenship certificate, passport and landowner registration certificate to such a person,” it says. In the case of absconders residing in foreign countries, the government may request the concerned country or the international organisations for their arrest through diplomatic channel.

As many as 9,975 suspects have given police the slip after committing criminal offences as of January 2017. Statistics of the Crime Investigation Department of Nepal Police show that 29,996 suspects were arrested in the fiscal 2014/15 and 33,247 in the fiscal 2015/16 across the county. It is an increase by approximately 10.14 per cent.

Despite more arrests, 4,985 and 4,690 of the crime suspects went into hiding in 2014/15 and 2015/16 respectively. “Police dealt with 27,286 cases and arrested 25,011 suspects while 4,985 others absconded in 2014/15. This means 17 per cent of crime suspects gave police the slip,” read the statistics.

Similarly, police nabbed 28,557 in connection with 28,070 reported crimes, while 4,690 absconded in 2015/16. The arrest to absconding ratio is 86:14 per cent. The total number of suspects arrested by police exceeds the registered cases as more than one person were involved in some criminal and civil offences.

Police said search for the absconders was under way and all of them would be brought to book, no matter how long it might take. In recent times, police have also succeeded in apprehending suspects or convicts of some crimes which even date back to 25 years.

Meanwhile, the CID said it had expedited the process of creating a central criminal database. The database will provide all its units with instant and direct access to criminal information to identify any absconding suspect or convict. It will also contain information about persons released after doing time in jail and those released on a general date. Once the database is prepared, the concerned district police office or investigators can arrest anyone on the basis of information available. The database is expected to enhance the criminal justice system in the country.