Two held with three kilos of smuggled gold

Kathmandu, June 30

Police have arrested two persons with three kilograms of undeclared gold allegedly being ferried to India.

The gold smuggling suspects are Deepak Kumar Maurya, 19, of Bihar, India, and Manoj BK, 23, of Mahendranagar, Kanchanpur. Acting on information, cops deployed at Nagdhunga checkpost intercepted an Indian car (UK 024684) and confiscated the contraband today. The car was driven by Maurya. The current market value of the precious metal seized from the duo stands at around Rs 14.7 million.

SSP Bishwa Raj Pokharel, in-charge at Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, said three gold bars weighing one kg each were found to have been concealed in a cavity of air-filter of the vehicle. 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.

Despite the arrest of gold smuggling suspects, police have yet to get any clue about its owner. Officials said they had launched further investigation to track down other persons, including the owners, involved in the smuggling racket. Most of the smuggled gold enters Nepal from Gulf countries through Tribhuvan International Airport, 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.

Parsa police had arrested Santosh Sah Kalwar of Sarlahi with one kg gold from Birgunj yesterday. He was illegally hauling the gold to Rauxual in India through Shankaracharya Gate of Birgunj. Sah had concealed the precious yellow metal in the air-filter of the motorbike he was riding.