33.5 kg gold smuggling case report vanishes from Prime Minister's Office!

Published On: December 15, 2023 12:00 PM NPT By: Tapendra Karki

KATHMANDU, Dec 15: Although the Prime Minister's Office is the place where the important government documents of the country are kept, it has been found that some important documents have disappeared from there. The government has not found the document given by the task force formed to bring those involved in gold smuggling into the scope of action and to control smuggling.

The report submitted on August 2, 2018 by the high-level probe committee formed by the then government in the case of 33.5 kg gold smuggling and the Sanam Shakya murder case has been missing.

The current government has also formed a four-member high-level inquiry commission to investigate the gold smuggling case. The Prime Minister's Office was unable to provide the report on the smuggling of 33 kg of gold to the high-level inquiry commission formed under the coordination of former High Court Judge Dilliram Acharya.A secretary of the Prime Minister's Office said that the 33.5 kg gold smuggling case report and Sanam Shakya's murder report were not found in the Prime Minister's Office. The investigation committee submitted a 773-page report on organized gold smuggling to the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on August 2, 2018.

Oli had assured that further investigations related to gold smuggling will continue. After studying the report, Oli promised to further investigate organized gold smuggling. But the Acharya-led commission created by the present government did not get the report on the 33 kg gold smuggling case to use the report as a background for the investigation.

"The report was not found in both the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Home Affairs," said a member of the high-level inquiry commission. After the Department of Revenue Investigation (DoRI) seized more than 60 kg of gold from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on July 19, the commission formed to investigate the matter has asked for a report on smuggling of 33 kg of gold.

After the DoRI recovered the gold, the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police also prepared a report on gold smuggling.

Before the seizure of 60 kg of smuggled gold in July, the matter of 9 kg of gold smuggled through electronic cigarettes (Vape) from the airport in February last year had made political waves. A commission has been formed under the coordination of former high court judge Acharya to conduct further investigation covering all these issues and to make suggestions to the government.The Commission has started studying the incidents of gold smuggling before and after 2013. For this, it is said that the commission is collecting/requesting information from various fields. Accordingly, the Commission wrote to the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Home Affairs requesting to provide the report of the committee formed to investigate the 33.5 kg gold smuggling and Sanam Shakya murder cases.

After the report was not available at the Prime Minister's Office, the Commission ordered a search at the Prime Minister's residence, Baluwatar. “But the report has not been found yet,” the source said.

At that time, high-ranking police officials investigating organized gold smuggling, concluded that  a large amount of gold was smuggled through the airport with the involvement of Kumar Shakya known as RK, the owner of gold merchant RK Jewellers, and businessman Bimal Podar.

The committee formed during the time of the then Prime Minister Oli had concluded that organized smugglers were secretly running illegal gold trade in collusion with airport ground handling staff, loaders and high officials of the police. In the report prepared by the committee of which Paudel is the coordinator, it was concluded that gold was smuggled through the TIA 521 times.

In the indictment submitted to the court by the Office of the Attorney General, it was outlined that the name of the gold smuggler, the outcomes, the date of gold being smuggled and the name of the individuals involved were mentioned in the nine diaries recovered from the flat of Chudamani Upreti, known as 'Gore', who is said to be the main person of gold smuggling. If the report is to be taken as the basis, the charge-sheet mentioned that gold has been smuggled through the TIA 521 times since July 2015.

Sanam Shakya was killed by Gore of Urlabari, Morang, who was assigned to find the missing gold and played a key role in transporting the illicitly smuggled gold to the Indian market.

It is mentioned in the report that Sanu Ban, who had transported the smuggled gold from the airport, was reportedly robbed on the way. Following the robbery, Gore, who was in Kolkata when the racket’s plans were foiled, returned to retrieve the gold after hearing from Ban, technical employee of Thai airlines. Once back, Gore started to interrogate suspects within the racket and even tortured Ban physically. For that reason, on Feburary 5, 2019, Ban had committed suicide by crawling under a moving tractor inside the airport, but in the regular bulletin published by the police on that day, it was mentioned that he had died in a tractor accident.

Based on the report submitted by the Paudel Committee, a case was registered against 63 persons at the District Court Morang. Now, ‘Gore’ is in the Central Jail.

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