Former AG, senior lawyers defend suspects involved in 33 kg gold smuggling

BIRATNAGAR: Former Attorney General Raman Kumar Shrestha and other senior lawyers have defended suspects accused of smuggling 33 kilograms gold and murdering its carrier Sanam Shakya on the third day of trial hearing at the Morang District Court on Sunday.

During today's trial hearing, former Attorney General Shrestha, senior lawyers Sambhu Thapa, Yadunath Khanal and Raju Basent defended police personnel, airlines employees and gold investors accused in the case, while lawyer Uddhav KC defended the airlines employees.

Similarly, Shrestha and Thapa defended Bhujung Gurung, former Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Govinda Niraula and suspended Superintendent of Police (SP) Bikash Raj Khanal.

In a charge sheet, police had claimed that Bhujung Gurung was involved in gold smuggling for two decades as gold investor and SP Khanal as an aide to gold smuggling kingpin Chudamani Upreti aka Gore.

Gurung dramatically changed his statement at the court. Two lawyers who are defending Gurung in the case have declined his involvement in the crime.

Senior lawyer Basnet said his clients Bal Krishna Shrestha, Lal Bahadur Magar, Birendra Man Shrestha, Sambir Prasad Tolange, Doram Khatri, Gopal Kumar Shrestha, Punya Prasad Lama, Hemant Gautam were innocent.

During the trial hearing, seniors lawyers accused District Court of stepping over its regional authority to look into the 3,800 kilogram gold smuggling case. However, they have said that the court only has right to interfere in Sanam Shakya murder case as it falls under its jurisdiction.

Earlier, the plaintiff lawyers had debated over the case on Friday. It has been learnt that the defendant's lawyer would take part in the trial hearing for few more days.

Earlier, police had arrested 30 persons and filed a case against 63 persons in connection to the 33 kilogram gold smuggling and murder of gold carrier Sanam Shakya at the Morang District Court. However, 33 persons are at large.