Three arrested with 33 kg smuggled gold

Kathmandu, January 5

In one of the biggest hauls of hallmark gold, the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police arrested three persons with 33 kilograms of undeclared precious yellow metal from Pinglasthan in Kathmandu today.

The seized gold is worth around Rs 150 million.

Those arrested are Gopal Bahadur Shahi, Dilbandhu Thapa and Santosh Kafle of Banke district. According to CIB, Shahi had arrived in Kathmandu with two suitcases containing gold from Dubai on an Air Arabia flight yesterday.

He is suspected of being a carrier of gold smuggling racket based in Nepal and Dubai.

Shahi managed to cross the customs at the Tribhuvan International Airport but could not escape from the CIB. Thapa and Kafle had come to receive the luggage from Shahi. However, the destination of the gold is yet to be established.

CIB said it had launched further investigation to track down racketeers operating from Nepal and Dubai. Acting on a tip-off, a special team deployed from the CIB arrested the trio with the precious yellow metal. The gold were in 282 bars of 10 tolas each, 19 finger rings and 20 necklaces wrapped with adhesive black tape separately.

It is the second biggest seizure of illegal gold after July 10, 2013 when CIB had arrested three persons with 35 kilograms of hallmark gold from Koteshwor. The gold was being smuggled to Kathmandu from China via Tatopani Customs Point.

Earlier, police had arrested one person with seven kg gold from Kalanki on December 29, found 10 kg gold from a deserted motorcycle in Bouddha and nabbed a person with five kg precious yellow metal from Rasuwa.

Nepal Police statistics show law enforcement authorities confiscated as much as 262.82 kg of gold in the last three fiscals. Police seized 90 kg of undeclared gold in the fiscal 2013/14, 111 kg in 2014/15 and 61.82 kg in 2015/16.

According to officials, most of the smuggled gold enters Nepal through Tatopani point in Sindhupalchwok via Lhasa of Tibet. The gold entering from Tatopani comes from Hong Kong, while the gold entering from TIA mainly comes from Dubai, Thailand and Malaysia.

The open border with India and relatively poor law enforcement in Nepal make it an easy route for smugglers to push gold into India through Nepal.