St Lucia court denies bail to accused four

KATHMANDU, APR 12: A St Lucia n court on Friday once again denied bail to four South Asians charged in connection with the “trafficking” of at least 70 Nepali students with “made-up” enrolment at Lambirds Academy in the island nation.

This is the second time Iftekhar Ahmed Shams, Koushal Kumar Batukbhai Chadasama, Ashwin Kanji Patel and Gurjeet Singh Vilkhu were being denied bail, according to St Lucia n online news portals. Shams, chief executive officer of the college, was the only one charged with money laundering including fraud and human trafficking, it was reported.

The Castries Magistrate’s Court has scheduled next hearing for April 24. Students and consultancies in Kathmandu said many more Nepalis are preparing to return. “The court proceedings might take several months. The students are not in a condition to stay for a long time here,” a student told the Post on the phone.

Thirty-two Nepali students have already applied for voluntary repatriation with the International Organization for Migration. Twenty one returned to Nepal in separate groups in the past one month. Consultancies in Nepal say there are around 57 Nepali students in the country in the eastern Caribbean Sea.

Lambirds Academy had charged the students up to Rs2 million on the pretext of providing credit transfer to universities in the United States after a year.