KATHMANDU, Nov 21: Upon raiding the house belonging to Jiban Bahadur Thapa Magar, 42, of Tokha Municipality-8, on Tuesday, police found 15 people including Magar gambling in the house. All of the 15 gamblers were arrested while Rs 715,400 was confiscated from the spot. Similarly, a set of kauda (16 cowry shells used for gambling) and a deck of playing cards were also seized from the site. This was not the only arrest made on Tuesday by the Metropolitan police.
Two persons were caught traveling with cowry shells and Rs 80,000 cash in Balaju on Tuesday. While conducting a regular check in Balaju, scooter-borne Dev Gurung, 35, and Dhan Bahadur Gurung, 30, were found in possession of cowry shells. After interrogating the duo, police arrested six others in connection with the case.
Along with the two cases, the total number of people arrested on gambling charges over the past three days has reached 48. The sharp rise is actually goes counter to the notion that gambling cases gradually decrease after the Tihar festival, which gambling is at its peak in Nepal. In the last three days, police have confiscated Rs 1.77 million from various gambling spots.
However, police have claimed that the increase in gambling cases has no relation with the Tihar festival. According to the chief of Metropolitan Police Range Office (MPRO) Kathmandu, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Basant Lama, the gamblers arrested after Tihar were all professional gamblers, not the festive gamblers.
“The gamblers arrested during Tihar are generally occasional gamblers,” he said, “The ones that are arrested after Tihar are generally professional gamblers. So, we cannot relate the increase to Tihar.”
SSP Lama claimed that the increase in arrests is the outcome of increased police vigilance on such crimes. “We have increased our vigilance,” he said, “The increase in arrests in natural.”