Kathmandu, November 12
The Special Court has remanded 25 high profile persons accused of gambling to 20 days of additional police custody, as sought by Department of Money Laundering Investigation to probe legitimacy of their assets.
On October 27, police had arrested 25 persons and confiscated Rs 26.7 million in cash and a bank cheque worth Rs 300,000 from the gambling den operated in the house of Bikram Gautam at Maharajgunj, Kathmandu. Since then, all the arrestees were in police custody at Metropolitan Police Circle, Maharajgunj.
Earlier today, Police had handed over the gamblers to the DoMLI as the period of their legal detention had expired yesterday. With today’s order the accused have been sent to Metropolitan Police Range, Lalitpur.
Rup Narayan Bhattarai, Director General of DoMLI said it had sought detention of the accused until DOMLI completed its investigation. DoMLI can demand police custody of anyone under its investigation for up to three months.
Metropolitan Police Circle, Maharajgunj had submitted its investigation report to the DoMLI on November 2, after suspecting that the arrestees might have amassed huge sum of money and property through illegal means. “We will now call each of the accused to the office and interrogate about the money police had confiscated from the gambling den, and about its source,” DG Bhattarai said.
Binod Lamichhane spokesperson of DoMLI said if the accused were found amassing property through illegal means, their property could be seized and they could handed down jail term. If found guilty as the first time offenders, the arrestees would face a jail term not exceeding three months and a fine not exceeding 30,000.
Among those arrested were Managing Director of Dynasty Air Pavitra Kumar Karki, and Balaram Sapkota aka Bale, who is also said to have been running casinos inside and outside the country, according to police.
Other arrested were Balram Sapkota, Sovit Silwal, Pradip Bogati, Ram Krishna KC, Indu Shrestha, Ranjan Rajbanshi, Sitaram Khadka, Roshan Tamang, Ram Tamang, Krishna Bhandari, Suman Gurung, Suman Agrawal, Sodel Karki, Pawan Agrawal, Mukti Lama, Bhakta Tamang, Shambhu Budhathoki, Prem Thapa Magar, Ashok Shrestha, Halam Prasad Parajuli, Buddha Lama, Thanku Sherpa and Nawang Lama.
A version of this article appears in print on November 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.