NEPALGUNJ, SEPTEMBER 7
The recent arrest of two individuals in possession of smuggled gold from Nepalgunj, Banke, after they made it through the security check at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, is likely to lift the curtain on the involvemebt of jewellers in bullion smuggling.
On Friday, police, acting on a tipoff related to smuggling of bullion from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, had arrested two persons with 4.2 kg gold, which they had hidden in their shoes, at Nepalgunj airport.
Police, in the course of their investigation, have found that the persons had been travelling to and fro from Kathmandu and Nepalgunj two to three times every week and supplying gold to the jewellers in Nepalgunj.
According to sources, bills and vouchers seized from the arrested persons have revealed that the jewellers in Nepalgunj have been involved in illegal transaction of gold for a long time. For these illegal transactions, the jewelers are learnt to have siphoned huge amounts of cash from the country through illegal channels such as 'hundi'.
Initially, though the jewellers made some attempts to dismiss the incident, they have come under the scanner after the arrested persons recorded their statement with the police conceding that they used to supply gold to different jewellers in Nepalgunj.
Further investigation into the illegal transaction has begun from Sunday following the raid on three jewellery shops in Nepalgunj - Nepal Jewellers, Sanjeev Jewellers and New Nepal Jewellers - by a team from the Kohalpur-based Revenue Investigation Office. The raiding team also seized trade and transaction-related documents from the shops.
"Now that we have seized the documents from the shops, even customers found to be buying the illegal gold will be brought under investigation," said Revenue Investigation Office, Kohalpur, Chief Saroj Pokharel.
According to sources, the jewellers were selling the illegally supplied gold to small traders by charging high price and even smuggling it to the bordering regions of India.
On Friday, police had arrested Buddhiman Khati, 28, of Morang and Amir Lagun BK of Jhapa with 4.21kg smuggled gold hidden in their shoes.
A version of this article appears in the print on September 8 2021, of The Himalayan Times.