Kathmandu, January 13

Police have arrested a person for allegedly using returnee Nepali migrant workers to smuggle gold via Tribhuvan International Airport.

The suspect of the gold smuggling racket is Samir Shrestha, 28, of Dhankuta district. He had been living in Kandaghari, Kathmandu, lately. Police said he was held with 250 grams of gold smuggled into Nepal from Gulf countries by using migrant works. The gold was in the form of five bangles weighing 50 grams each.

The arrest of Shrestha shows that migrant workers returning home from Gulf countries are being used to smuggle gold in small quantities. According to officials, a special team of Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, arrested him from Pinglasthan while he heading for his destination after collecting the gold from migrant workers, who were in regular touch with him on phone.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati said Shrestha paid a wage of Rs 6,000 to each migrant worker for carrying home 50 grams of gold. The 250 grams of gold was brought by five persons. An oversea returnee is allowed to carry gold not exceeding 50 grams in the form of ornament. Smugglers like Shrestha have been misusing this provision to smuggle gold, SP Bogati added.

In some cases, migrant workers are paid by the racketeers from the Gulf via wire after the consignment of gold is received by the concerned person in Nepal. According to a figure of the TIA, customs officials and police seize an average of two kilos of undeclared gold collected by racketeers from migrant workers in small consignments. Shrestha has been handed over to the Department of Revenue Investigation for further action.