Nepal Police arrested 7,390 absconding convicts in fiscal 2020-21 compared to 2,332 in 2019-20, a significant increase of 216.89 per cent.

According to the annual report (2020-21) released by the security agency, the convicts were arrested from different parts of Nepal as well as foreign countries in association with the International Criminal Police Organisation.

Those convicted of crimes, including murder, rape, kidnapping, banking offence, human trafficking, fraud and forgery, among others, were sentenced up to 20 years in jail along with a fine of Rs 486 million. The fine collected from the convicts in the fiscal 2020-21 is also more than 24.05 per cent compared to that of the previous fiscal.

On October 16, police apprehended Bhimsen Ghaga Magar, 51, and Ram Krishna Chuni Magar, 30, of Makawanpur, who were accused of murdering a fellow worker 11 years after the crime allegedly committed by them. Acting on an intelligence input, plainclothes cops arrested them from Nepalgunj Municipality, Banke. According to police, Bhimsen and Ram Krishna had beaten Dil Bahadur Yonjan, 36, of Makawanpur to death in Godavari Municipality-8, Lalitpur, on 14 May 2009. They had been absconding since then.

On December 29, police arrested Durga Bahadur Budhathoki aka soley/Kumar, 28, of Sarlahi nearly 12 years after his involvement in a kidnapping-for-ransom case. Budhathoki and five others had kidnapped Baburaja Rawal, a proprietor of Valley Cold Store in Kathmandu, on 16 December 2008 and driven the victim to Tokha. Rawal was released the next day after he reportedly paid Rs 15 million in ransom.

Though Budhathoki was arrested by police for lifting a motorcycle before the kidnapping took place, he had managed to escape from the custody of Baneshwor-based Metropolitan Police circle on 8 May 2007 by breaking the iron grill. Following the escape from police custody, he joined a kidnapping-for-ransom racket.

The arrest of persons, who have been on the run after being convicted of crime, is on the upward trend in the recent years.

Those arrested during fiscal 2020-21 were convicted by the Supreme Court, high courts, district courts and the Foreign Employment Tribunal, and had been slapped with imprisonment of up to 20 years.

Police have stepped up a special campaign to arrest absconding convicts and suspects in all the districts to ensure that no one is above the law and that every absconding convict is brought to book, no matter how long it might take. The constitution, Police Act and Rules and Criminal Code Act require Nepal Police to implement the judgments passed by the courts as a law enforcement agency.

According to Nepal Police, people will lose their trust in the justice system if judgments passed by the courts are not duly implemented, thereby leading to the culture of impunity.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 26 2021, of The Himalayan Times.