KATHMANDU, May 22: The police have made public the main accused of the 33.5 kg gold smuggling case, Chudamani Upreti aka Gore on Tuesday.
Organizing a press meeting at the Home Ministry, the police shared that Gore was arrested from Gaurighat, Kathmandu at 5:34 am today morning.
The master mind of the precious metal smuggling case, Upreti is the son of a former police official. He is from Urlabari Municipality, Morang.
Home Ministry had formed an investigation committee under the convenorship of joint secretary Ishwari Raj Poudel at the Ministry. Police had carried out the investigation in some parts of India and Nepal in search of Gore. Poudel further said that the alleged 32 persons so far were presented in the court while 33 are still absconding.
According to Poudel, Gore will be presented in Morang District Court soon. He further stated that the case was complex therefore, investigation is also made minutely.
The government has extended a term of investigation committee by Mid June.
THE GOLD SMUGGLING CASE
On the second week of January this year, the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police confiscated 33.5 kg gold from the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) which had passed undetected from the customs. But the gold, which was being smuggled into Nepal from the United Arab Emirates, mysteriously disappeared before reaching its owner.
While a search for the smuggled gold was underway, the police found the dead body of the courier of the smuggled precious metal Sanam Shakya on March 3. The investigation showed that mule Shakya’s cause of death was electric shock. His body was recovered from Biratnagar-3, wrapped in a towel along with a mattress and tarpaulin in a Scorpio jeep with a number place Ba 12 Cha 5963. Shakya was kidnapped and tortured to death in Ulrabari on March 2, according to the police. The Morang police arrested Tej Raj Malla, Narendra Karki aka Krishna and Mohan Kafle on suspicion of Shakya’s murder. The police, earlier had said that Shakya was murdered in Siraha.
The Home Ministry then formed a probe committee under the leadership of Joint Secretary Ishwor Poudel to further investigate into the smuggling and murder case. The committee suspected the involvement of police officers in the case. The Poudel-led panel has concluded that Upreti and his accomplices smuggled 3,999.6kg of gold since July 2015.
The police also raided Gore’s Baneshwor-based house and seized some gold bars and cash. The police then arrested 38 suspects including the gold dealers, and later arrested 17 more suspects in course of investigation.
The police, then, arrested former DIG and TIA police Chief Govinda Niraula and in connection with the case. Then, the Home Ministry called SP Bikash Raj Khanal of Makwanpur District Police and DSP Sanjay Raut of Itahari Area Police, who the investigation showed were in regular touch with Gore, to testify.
The trio was presented before the Morang District Court and remanded into three-day custody under organized crime and murder case.
On April 27, the Interpol issued a red corner notice against Gore.
The probe committee also found out that Gore himself had told SSB Dibesh Lohani about the incident and asked them to hide the body, promising them Rs 50 million in prize.
The probe committee also called DSP Prajit KC. But after his statement was found suspicious, KC was detained. Likewise, the committee also called SSP Shyam Khatri to testify, but he didn’t appear.
By the end of April, police had arrested 29 suspects in connection with the case.
Later on May 2, the police arrested SSB Lohani, who earlier had said that he accepted the offer as plan to arrest Gore. He had also said that he had already informed former IGP Prakash Aryal about his plan. On the same day, the police also filed charge sheets against 63 persons for the alleged involvement in organized crime, murder, abduction and kidnapping.
Constable Bisnu Bahadur Khadka, while recording his statement at the Morang District Court, admitted his involvement in the smuggling case and also revealed involvement of high-level TIA officials. Khadka, the driver to SSP Khatri, also admitted he handed over the gold to smuggler Mohan Kafle aka Darhiwal in SSP Khatri’s direction. Khadka also revealed that the gold was escorted by DSP Raut and SSP Khatri, with the help of Khatri’s bodyguard and constable Amar Bahadur Thapa Magar. Khadka was previously arrested in case of smuggling 34 kg gold from Dubai on Feb 5, 2017, but released on Rs 200,000 bail.
-News by Dilmaya Devkota