Malaysia deports Nepali charged with links to ISIS

Kathmandu, September 23

Malaysia has deported a Nepali citizen on charge of being involved in facilitating operations of terrorist groups, including Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The Nepali has been identified as Mahendra Jung Shah, a permanent resident of Lalu VDC of Kalikot district, according to the Embassy of Nepal in Malaysia.

He was chairman of Non-Resident Nepalis Association, Malaysia Chapter, until early this year, according to sources in Malaysia. He had been running business in Malaysian for the last one and a half decades.

In a statement, Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed that a 38-year-old Nepali suspect was arrested on August 19 and subsequently deported to Nepal on September 2.

“We discovered that he ran entertainment outlets and a hotel. We believe he was responsible for falsifying documents to facilitate travels of terrorists,” Khalid was quoted as saying.

Three other people — a Malaysian, a Moroccan and a Bangladeshi national — were arrested, along with Shah. Moroccan and Bangladeshi suspects were also deported to their respective countries.

Nepal’s Ambassador to Malaysia Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat said Shah was arrested for his alleged involvement in issuing fake Malaysian visa to as many as 140 foreign nationals, including 36 Nepalis.

According to Basnyat, the embassy had received complaints that Shah had allegedly taken 11,000 ringgit (approximately 330,000 rupees) from each Nepali for getting issued a ‘professional visa’ of Malaysia with two years’ validity.

However, once those Nepalis reached Malaysia in November-December they were arrested at the airport its on the charge of having fake visas. Based on the tip off they provided, Shah’s involvement in fraudulent activities was unveiled.

Of the 104 others, who were issued fake visas, some turned out to be IS operatives, the embassy sources quoted Malaysian authorities as telling them.

Ambassador Basnyat told The Himalayan Times over phone that he was shocked to know that the Malaysian authorities had charged a Nepali businessman of having links to ISIS though the embassy had received complaints of his fraudulent activities from Nepali compatriots.

More than 30 Nepalis, who were arrested and detained for 24 days at the Malaysian airport for possessing fake visas, had complained against Shah at the Embassy of Nepal.

Acting on complaints, the embassy wrote a letter to the Malaysian authorities on January 26 to find Shah, who was NRN-Malaysia chairman then.

One of the victims, Indra Bir Maharjan, has filed complaints at MoFA, the Commission of Investigation of Abuse of Authority, and the Ministry of Labour and Employment seeking action against Shah.

Upon his arrest from TIA, MPCD handed Shah over to Metropolitan Police Range, Teku. Shah claimed that he had no link with any terrorist outfit, including IS, as claimed by the Malaysian government.

MPR kept Shah in its custody and filed a public crime charge against him at the District Administration Office, Kathmandu, to collect evidence.

“DAO, however, released him on bail of Rs 6,000 on September 11,” said SP Pradhyumna Karki, MPR spokesperson.