KATHMANDU, Jan 13: In what seems to be an effect of the demonetization of Indian currency notes, gold smuggling has soared in immediate neighbor Nepal.
Police suspect that Indians are now investing their black money in gold, upping demand for the yellow metal. This in turn has encouraged gold smuggling.
The increases in price and confiscation of a huge cache of illegal gold by police suggest the link with IC demonitization. According to police, 75 percent of the gold that has entered the Nepali market illegally from the Gulf and from China went to India.
Police confiscated 55 kg of illegal gold from Kathmandu Valley in the recent two months alone. In total, 61 kg of gold was seized in the current fiscal year. Officials close to investigations say smuggling is occuring with the involvement of Nepalis but the real customers are Indians.
“Our preliminary investigations show that most of the customers for illegal gold are Indians,” informed DIG Nawaraj Silwal, who is also head of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB).
According to CIB, smuggling of gold has been on the rise after the price shot up. The price per kg has increased by Rs 500,000 to Rs 700,000.
Police suspect that both land and air routes are being used by the smugglers. Police today took into custody TIA customs officials Shree Narayan Yadav and Raj Kumar Dhakal over their possible involvement in the recent gold smuggling.
According to police, influential people including a member of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee and officials from the Ministry of Home and Ministry of Finance are also involved in the smuggling.
Concerned by the rampant gold smuggling, Nepal Police is preparing to take up the issue at the Interpol conference scheduled to take place this week in Kathmandu. said AIG Bigyan Raj Sharma.