Govt rules out formation of a high-level probe committee to investigate 100 kg gold smuggling scam

Published On: August 4, 2023 08:15 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

DRI has almost reached the root cause behind the biggest gold scam: Minister Sharma

KATHMANDU, Aug 4: The government has refused to form a high-level committee to investigate the recent case of gold smuggling, arguing that the formation of the new committee might affect the ongoing investigation progress.

The government's refusal to form a high-level probe committee comes at a time when the main opposition party, the CPN-UML, has been demanding the government form such a commission to carry out further investigation into the gold smuggling case. "A high-level committee is not necessary as the Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) has taken charge," said Rekha Sharma, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, speaking at a press meet on Thursday.

Minister Sharma, who is also the government spokesperson, mentioned that the DRI is one of the most powerful government bodies, so the investigation is also progressing effectively. "The formation of committees and diversion from the main issue will also affect the investigation process," said Sharma, adding that the government has almost identified the root cause of one of the biggest gold scams in the country.

On July 19, the DRI recovered 100 kg of gold that was hidden in brake shoes of scooters and motorbikes after it had passed the customs office of the Tribhuvan International Airport, from Sinamangal in Kathmandu. The smugglers were found evading the TIA customs and fleeing away with the smuggled precious metal using a cab.

A total of 18 people suspected of their involvement in the case have been arrested so far. Since then, the UML has been demanding the formation of a high-level investigation commission to investigate the case. The main opposition party has also been disrupting the parliamentary meetings to exert pressure on the government to fulfill its demand.

Minister Sharma urged everyone to keep faith in the DRI-led investigation. "Had the department shown apathy, the smuggled gold could not have been seized in the first place," she said.

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