KATHMANDU: The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police has announced that the investigation into the high-profile 60 kg gold smuggling case has reached its final stages.
Following months of meticulous investigative work, the CIB is now preparing to submit its comprehensive report to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Kathmandu.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Kuber Kadayat, the police spokesperson, confirmed that preparations are currently underway to present the report, with a target date set for Tuesday.
However, he stated, “If all is in order, we are fully prepared to submit it today. In case Tuesday isn’t feasible, we are geared up to do so on Wednesday.”
This extensive investigation delves into an organized crime network involved in international gold smuggling, necessitating cooperation with Interpol. Notably, SSP Dinesh Acharya and DSP Dharmaraj Bhandari traveled to India to seek assistance and further leads in the case.
The probe initially commenced when the Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) intercepted gold, along with several individuals, after it had passed customs inspection on July 18 at Tribhuvan International Airport.
A total of 60 kg 716 grams of gold was discovered concealed within a 155 kg brake shoe, transported by Cathay Pacific Air from Hong Kong.
The gold was purchased by a company named Ready Pvt. Ltd. While the DRI initially took charge of the case, it was subsequently handed over to the CIB for a more comprehensive investigation.
With the clock ticking on the 60-day deadline for prosecuting organized crime, the police are on the verge of submitting their case. In the coming days, the Public Prosecutor’s Office will have the responsibility of initiating legal proceedings and registering the case at the Kathmandu District Court.
To date, the CIB has apprehended 30 individuals in connection with this case, with one suspect still at large.
The arrested individuals include Belgian citizen Dawa Chiring, Ready Pvt. Ltd owner Dilip Bhujel, his uncle Ramkumar Bhujel, Harkaraj Rai, Customs officers Santosh Chand and Pushpa Joshi, non-gazette officials Kamal Pariyar, Naib Birendra Nepali, buyer and checker Kumar Dhakal, and X-ray operator Saroj Shrestha, all of whom are currently in police custody.
Furthermore, customs agents Yadav Shankar Parajuli, Rajendra Rai, Sudarshan Gautam, Pushkar aj Bhatta, Krishna Shrestha, Rajan Shrestha, taxi driver Ashok Lama, and Indian citizen Thapten Chhiring, Ganesh Paudel, Kishore Basnet, Suman Kharel, Surendra Tamang, and Federation of Nepal Gold and Silver Association Bara’s President Shiv Kumar Safar are also in police custody.
The list of arrests extends to international individuals, including Ding Segfa, Wen Tong, Tian Mi, Li Nengkai, Yao Pucheng, Li Wen Sung, and Jiquan Lin.
Although previously detained, customs agent Rukmini Subba is on bail citing health issues.
Moreover, the CIB’s investigation has unveiled a connection between this gold smuggling case and a prior incident involving 9 kg of gold concealed within an electric cigarette vape.
Both cases are believed to be linked to the same smuggling syndicate responsible for transporting gold to India for illegal resale.
A CIB investigation officer confirmed that the two cases share ties, with smuggled gold making its way to India for illicit transactions.
Notably, the airport customs office had seized the vape containing gold, and investigations revealed that CPN-Maoist vice-chairman Krishna Bahadur Mahara and his son Rahul had been in contact with the gold smugglers.
Currently, Rahul Mahara is in police custody in connection with the ongoing investigation. However, it remains undecided whether he will be named as a defendant in the vape case.