Two arrested with 1.6 kilos of gold

  • Nepal Police has seized at least 130 kg smuggled gold in the past 10 months

Kathmandu, July 6

After a brief lull, gold smugglers have again started cashing in on the poor security system to supply precious yellow metal to Nepal.

Police arrested two Indian nationals with 1.6 kg gold from Tribhuvan International Airport yesterday. The smuggling suspects are Arshad Pholauil, 39, and Jalaluddin Vypim Padath Kunju Mohammed, 41, of the Indian state of Kerala. They had arrived in Kathmandu from Dubai on a Flydubai flight.

Cases of gold smuggling had gone down after the special probe panel led by Ishwar Prasad Paudel, joint secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, formed to investigate the March 2 murder of Sanam Shakya and disappearance of 33 kilograms of smuggled gold, arrested over 33 alleged smugglers and filed charge-sheet against 68 persons in Morang District Court last month.

A police official admitted that gold smugglers were on the prowl again and said special vigilance had been maintained to track down the suspects.  On June 29, police arrested two persons, including an Indian national, with three kg gold from Nagdhunga. The current market value of the precious metal seized from the duo stands at around Rs 14.7 million. The contraband was allegedly being ferried to India in a car. The next day, investigating officials arrested three more Indians from Kathmandu in connection with the smuggling.

According to preliminary investigation, the gold was smuggled to Nepal from China via Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border point by evading customs and its destination was India. The government imposes a customs duty of Rs 5,200 per 10 grams of gold while selling it to the authorised jewellers and dealers through the official channel of commercial banks.

On June 30, police arrested Tenzing Tamang, 23, of Sindhupalchowk with six kg gold from Nagdhunga again. The contraband was being smuggled to Kathmandu from Dubai via Nepal-China border. Nepal Police shows has seized at least 130 kg gold in the past 10 months.

Most of the smuggled gold enters Nepal from Gulf countries through the TIA, and Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi-Kerung points via Tibet of China. The open border with India and relatively poor law enforcement in Nepal make it an easy route for smugglers to push contraband into India through Nepal. A police source said the gold being seized by the law enforcement agency is just the tip of the iceberg. The official maintained that criminal groups active in Nepal, India and China are investing their money earned through illegal activities in gold.