Rhino horn smugglers held

MAHENDRANAGAR: Two persons were held along with a rhino horn from Himal Hotel in Khalanga bazaar yesterday. The arrested have been identified as Nepali Army soldier Nain Singh Thagunna and hotelier Dan Singh Chausir, the District Forest Office said. A team led by Remesh Chand, officer at the DFO, had arrested the duo from the hotel along with the rhino horn weighing 525 grams.

“We were searching for the gang of rhino horn smugglers active in the area for the past eight months,” Chand said, adding that they were finally able to arrest two of the smugglers. He informed that other nine members of the gang was still at large.

However, arrestees Thagunna and Chausir denied their involvement in the smuggling. Hotelier Chausir said that a road construction contractor named Prakash had left a bag containing the rhino horn three years ago. While, Thagunna said he was in his home leave to meet Chausir, his brother-in-law.

Meanwhile, the DFO claimed that the duo were undoubtedly involved in rhino horn smuggling. “Case will be filed against the duo as per the legal provision,” Chand said. Chand had also nabbed two Maoist cadres along with rhino horns five months ago. He demanded security saying that leaders of political parties were pressuring him to release the arrestees. “I am determined to take action against the arrestees despite insecurity,” Chand said.