Govt to sell 1.2 million confiscated masks

Kathmandu, March 16

In the past week or so police have seized more than 1.2 million face masks in raids on warehouses across the capital. Today, the government decided to sell them off at market price in the wake of acute shortage of masks due to coronavirus scare.

In a raid conducted today on a warehouse in Satungal, police seized 8.40 lakh surgical masks that operators of RD Suppliers were hoping to sell in the black market. Today’s seizure was the biggest so far. Yesterday, police had seized 1.68 lakh masks from Bishnudevi Warehouse at Milanchowk in Kapan. A few days ago, police had confiscated 100,000 masks from Dallu. Police said RD Suppliers was selling a mask that costs less than Rs 5 for more than Rs 30.

Police have been carrying out daily raids on warehouses to seize masks from black marketeers.

All the confiscated masks are being kept in a warehouse of Kathmandu District Administration Office as evidence of black marketeering.

Attorney General Agni Prasad Kharel, Nepal Police chief Inspector General Thakur Prasad Gyawaly and Kathmandu Chief District Officer Janak Raj Dahal dwelt on the seizure of masks today and decided to circulate the confiscated masks in the market through public health bodies.

As the confiscated masks are the evidence in cases filed against black marketeers, the government will maintain a digital record of the seized masks before selling them off, said CDO Dahal.

The Office of Attorney General later issued a notice stating that police would receive the money equivalent to market price of masks through the government bodies that sell them to the public.

Police have so far arrested 11 persons on charges of black marketeering. Those in police custody are Sanjan Kumar Regmi, Suraj Goyal, Subash Maheshwori, Mintu Tamang, Mankaji Lama, Anish Karki, Thumraj Upadhayay, Nirp Karki, Ujjwal Adhikari, Shiva Khadka and Nisan Tamang.