Two more suspects arrested

Kathmandu, November 17

Police have arrested two more suspects in connection with the broad daylight murder of Sharad Kumar Gauchan.

Gauchan, 60, president of Federation of Contractors’ Association of Nepal, was gunned down by armed motorcyclists in Prayag Marg, Kathmandu-31, on October 9 when he was on the way to Baneshwor-based office from his residence in Shantinagar.

According to police, Basanta Thebe of Taplejung and Dhanaraj Yonghang of Panchthar were held with two pistols and 10 rounds of bullets from Kapan area. Officials claimed the firearms were used to shoot Gauchan. They had allegedly kept Gauchan under surveillance and informed the shooters over phone that he was on the way to his office through Prayag Marg.

Police said that Thebe and Yonghag had taken the custody of the firearms after the murder. Their names were not included on the list of eight absconders when police arrested and made public five persons earlier this week. Those arrestees include Rajiv Syangtan, 21, of Nuwakot; Shivaji Mahato, 35, and Santosh Gurung, 18, of Parsa; Mukesh Kumar Pandey, 24, of Bihar, India; and Prakash Budhathoki, 22, of Nagarjun Municipality, Kathmandu. Syangtan was one of two shooters who fired two shots at Gauchan.

Eight other supects — Samirman Singh Basnet, Manoj Pun, Lopsang Lama, Ganga Lingden aka Boka, Shyam Bahadur Gumbe (deserter of Nepali Army), Abmar Bahadur Rana aka Kale Dai (deserter of NA), Roshan Budhathoki and Ajay Thapa — are still at large and police said plainclothes cops were after them. Rana is said to be another shooter.

Basnet, a Bafal-based gangster and a close aide to Kumar Shrestha aka Ghainte killed in police action in 2015, was the mastermind behind the murder. Basnet and his henchmen were constantly threatening Gauchan over phone for refusing to pay extortion money, but the victim never lodged a complaint with police.

Though a few gang members working in the lower layer were arrested, the main perpetrators Basent, Pun and others remained elusive. Pun had shot CPN-UML-aligned Youth Federation Nepal leader Durga Tiwari dead in Rupandehi last year. The gang is notorious for extorting contractors and businesspersons.