RAJBIRAJ, Feb 21: If citizens of India, Bangladesh and other countries want to obtain Nepali citizenship certificate, all they have to do is to visit Saptari and Sunsari districts. These two districts, since a long time, have been a safe haven for international criminals to obtain fake Nepali citizenship certificates.
Government staffers at the district administration offices and local units have been colluding to help international criminals in obtaining Nepali citizenship with easy in return for money, according to claims made my Nepal Police.
Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis among other nationals 'purchase' Nepali citizenship certificate to hide from law enforcement agencies. They have made Nepal as a transit point to go to other countries with new identity by concealing their criminal backgrounds.
According to police, organized gangs that make fake Nepali citizenship are active from Jhapa to Saptari. Although police have arrested some of the people involved in the racket, many of the accused have been easily getting off the police net simply by paying bail amount.
Since the last two years, police have already managed to arrest over a dozen of the accused. However, most of them have got out of jail as they are able to influence the courts. The soft stance of court's toward them has further encouraged such activities, police claimed.
In one of such incidents, three Indian nationals were arrested on December 4 for using fake Nepali citizenship. On February 15, Rajbiraj High Court issued a verdict to release them on a bail of Rs 25,000.
“Regardless of what the final verdict might be, will the Indian nationals ever come back to face the final hearing? Of course not,” said one of the court officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.
According to the court official, had the police been able to keep them in jail for some more days and investigate, there were high chances that they could also find out who helped them get the citizenship.
“Instead, they get bailed out and the investigation would never reach a conclusion, thanks to the court's decision,” he said.
According to police, Indian citizens from West Bengal and Bihar are also involved in operating the racket. Going abroad as migrant worker is expensive in India and the process is full of hassles. As a result, many of the Indian nationals purchase forged Nepali citizenship to work as migrant laborer in the Middle East and other Gulf countries.
Agents deployed in India find out such people in need and bring them to Nepal after which the responsibility to provide them citizenship is handed over to their network in the country. Indians in Birtamod and others involved in the racket deliver the citizenship after the payment is made.
Not just the aspiring migrant workers, many of those who obtain forged Nepali citizenship are also criminals. Notorious Indian criminal Niranjan Hoji, who is accused of being involved in various terrorist activities, had acquired Nepali citizenship from Dharan in Sunsari district back in 2006. Likewise, Bangladeshi national Ali Asafar Ansari, aka Subrat Ben, who was wanted by Interpol, had also obtained Nepali citizenship.