High-level police squad under home minister on cards for special investigations

If the intention is to put in place a parallel agency, it is not welcome — Geja Sharma Wagle, security analyst

Kathmandu, June 19

The Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa is planning to cobble together a squad comprising high-ranking police personnel which will work directly under him to conduct special investigations and operations.

“The taskforce, which is likely to be headed by a deputy inspector general, will be set up soon. We are doing the groundwork for the same. It will handle special investigations and operations,” Thapa’s Political Adviser Surya Subedi told THT.

According to Subedi, the taskforce will be of temporary nature and will take up cases on a project basis.

“Once the assigned task is completed, members will return to their respective stations. If other tasks come up, they will again assemble,” he said, adding that a decision in this regard was expected after Thapa returns from China. Thapa is accompanying Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on his five-day official visit to China.

The taskforce will bring bigger offenders into the legal net and forward cases to the court after investigation. Some of the cases to be taken up by the taskforce include financial irregularities, smuggling and fraud.

Sources claimed that the taskforce would not succumb to political pressure.

“The taskforce has been envisioned in the light of past experience when the police had to often free criminals under political pressure,” said a source.

The source said the minister had been dissatisfied with the police for its failure to take immediate action against notorious criminals, including gold smugglers and fraudulent contractors.

Former inspector general of police Kuber Singh Rana said the ministry could form such a taskforce under the organised crime act, depending on the nature and gravity of criminal activity.

According to security analyst Geja Sharma Wagle, the ministry’s move should be lauded if the move is intended to make more effective coordination with security agencies.

“If the intention is to put in place a parallel agency, it is not welcome,” he said, adding that it was important to know the jurisdiction of the proposed taskforce.

In a recent case of gold smuggling which is under investigation, the police have identified on-the-run MK Agrawal as the main investor and racketeer. “The taskforce will look into such cases,” the source said.

The labour ministry has also requested the home ministry to take action against foreign employment agencies found to be defrauding Nepalis aspiring to go for foreign employment.

The home ministry, in its preliminary investigation, has found the operators of foreign employment agencies fleecing Nepalis of billions of rupees.

The ministry’s plan follows the PM’s move to bring the National Investigation Department, which was under the home ministry, under the purview of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Minister.

The prime minister’s decision had irked Home Minister Thapa, as an understanding had been reached to set up two mechanisms under the home ministry to collect information.