Probe panel arrests three more suspects

Kathmandu, June 23

The special probe committee led by Ishwor Raj Paudel, joint secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, formed to investigate the March 2 murder of Sanam Shakya and disappearance of 33 kg smuggled gold, has arrested three more suspects for their alleged involvement in smuggling and illegal hundi business.

A source at the MoHA said Akbar Shah, Imitiaz Ansari and Pravin Agrawal aka Sanjay Khetan were held from different places of Kathmandu on Thursday, Friday and Saturday respectively. The source informed that Ansari ran restaurants and had also invested in various businesses while Agrawal, a Birgunj-based businessman, smuggled gold and ranhundi  business with Bimal Poddar, who was arrested on Tuesday.

According to the panel, Agrawal was in constant touch with  Chhiring Wangel Ghale, who has already been remanded to jail by Morang  District Court.

“They were allegedly running hundi business and smuggling gold to India through their agents. The probe panel sent them to custody based on the statements given by some persons, who have been remanded to jail by Morang District Court, in connection with Shakya’s murder and smuggling of gold,” he said.

Kathmandu District Court had remanded Shah and Ansari to seven-day judicial custody under the Some Public (Crime and Punishment) Act for further investigation into their involvement in gold smuggling and illegal hundi business, and to collect evidences against them.

The probe panel is recording their statements. Earlier, Morang District Police had filed a charge-sheet against 63 persons, including former and current police officials, traders and alleged smugglers, among others, at the district court through the district attorney’s office. Meanwhile, Interpol Red Notice has been issued for the arrest of four persons. They include Mohan Kumar Agrawal, Ramesh Upreti, HarisharanKhadka and BenuShrestha.

The National Central Bureau had requested the Interpol General Secretariat, France, to issue Red Notice against the absconding accused involved in gold smuggling. Red Notice is issued for the arrest and deportation of criminals and suspects on the recommendation of member countries after verification of their details. Before this, Interpol Diffusion Notice was issued against Agrawal and Upreti.