‘Kingpin’ picked up, spills beans

KATHMANDU: The special probe committee headed by Ishwar Raj Paudel, a joint secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, on Tuesday nabbed Chudamani Upreti aka Gorey, who had been absconding since the murder of Sanam Shakya, an alleged carrier of smuggled gold on March 2, and after the disappearance of 33 kg gold came to light.

At a press conference organised in Singha Durbar, Paudel said Gorey (37) of Urlabari in Morang district, was arrested from Gaurighat, Kathmandu, at around 5:45 am. “Acting on information that Gorey had recently arrived in Kathmandu from somewhere else and was hiding in his rented house, the probe committee, also consisting of police officials, arrested him,” he said.

However, a source privy to the investigation said Gorey was arrested from New Delhi in coordination with Indian police and brought home yesterday. “The probe committee managed to find his whereabouts and track him down on the basis of his regular telephone contact with a man close to him in Morang,” the source said.

Gorey and his associates, in cahoots with jewellers, police and customs officials, had managed to smuggle around 3,800 kg gold with market value of over Rs 17 billion from Dubai through Tribhuvan International Airport in 421 trips since 2015. The smuggling of such a huge amount of gold came to the fore after Gorey and his associates allegedly electrocuted Shakya to death for not disclosing the whereabouts of the 33 kg gold smuggled from Dubai in the third week of January. Shakya (36) was Gorey’s close aide.

On May 3, the probe committee had filed a charge-sheet at Morang District Court against 63 suspects for kidnapping, hostage taking and murder under the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act. Gorey was among the 32 absconding suspects facing charges.

“We quizzed Gorey before submitting him to DPO, Morang, and he has spilled the beans about many other previously unsuspected persons who were directly or indirectly involved in the smuggling racket. We have launched an all-out investigation against those implicated by him,” Paudel said.

Gorey has also admitted to smuggling gold in collusion with police officials, customs officials and ground handlers at TIA, but claimed that he was only an agent in the racket. “I was just provided with commission for maintaining cordial ties with police and other TIA officials and carrying the consignment of gold to the destination. I am not the boss of the smuggling racket,” Gorey told the probe panel.

Paudel said Gorey’s arrest could take the ongoing investigation to its logical end and lead to more arrests. Gorey also told the probe committee that the 33 kg gold was robbed by a gang led by Bhujung Gurung, who was in police custody.

Gorey was handed over to District Police Office, Morang, later for court proceedings.

Unfolding the crime saga

  • Jan 23: Around 33 kg gold is smuggled into Nepal from the UAE; the gold which landed at Tribhuvan International Airport later disappears from Anamnagar
  • Feb 5: Sanu Ban, a loader at TIA who was involved in smuggling, reportedly commits suicide by jumping in front of a moving oil tanker at TIA
  • March 2: Sanam Shakya (36) an alleged carrier of gold, is murdered following disappearance of the yellow metal
  • March 22: Nepal Police forms a four-member probe panel led by DIG Puskal Raj Regmi to investigate into Shakya’s murder and disappearance of 33 kg gold
  • April 3: Govt forms probe committee under Home Ministry Joint Secretary Ishwar Raj Paudel
  • April 13: Premlal Chaudhary, head loader at TIA for Nepal Airlines Corporation, who was allegedly involved in gold smuggling, is found dead in police custody
  • April 27: Interpol issues diffusion notice against leader of gold smuggling racket, Chudamani Upreti aka Gorey
  • May 3: Charge-sheet is filed at Morang District Court against 63 suspects with claims of Rs 17 billion
  • May 4: Morang District Court starts recording statements of 29 suspects accused of gold smuggling and murdering Shakya
  • May 10: Hearing for judicial custody of those accused of smuggling of 33 kg of gold and Shakya’s murder begins at Morang District Court
  • May 21: Counter-argument on trial hearing of 33kg gold smuggling and Shakya’s murder begins at Morang District Court
  • May 22: Police arrest Chudamani Upreti, aka Gorey, alleged mastermind behind the smuggling of 33 kg gold and Shakya’s murder


Gorey, alleged mastermind behind 33kg gold smuggling arrested

KATHMANDU: Police have arrested Chudamani Upreti, aka Gorey of Urlabari, the alleged mastermind behind the smuggling of 33 kg gold and related murder of carrier Sanam Shakya.

Upreti has been arrested at a time when the counter arguments in cases related to the smuggling are underway at Morang District Court.

According to police source, he was arrested from Gaurighat in KMC-8 this morning. Investigation into this case has been given high priority.

Meanwhile, police have presented the arrested Upreti before the media by organising a press conference at the Ministry of Home Affairs, which was held at 12:30 pm today at the Ministry of Home Affairs, according to an official at the Ministry's control section, Binod Bishwakarma.

Following an investigation opened in the wake of Shakya’s murder, Government Attorney’s Office of Morang on May 2 had filed cases against 63 persons at Morang District Court claiming that they had smuggled around 38 quintals of gold worth over Rs 17.018 billion over the years since 2015. Gore was at large ever since the death of Shakya, who had been electrocuted allegedly on Gorey’s instruction.

Superintendent of Police Bikashraj Khanal, the incharge of Makwanpur District Police Office, was also arrested in connection with the case, the murder of alleged carrier of smuggled gold, and the disappearance of 33 kg precious yellow metal.

Thirty-two of those charge-sheeted in connection with the smuggling and murder are still absconding.