#India's 'non-cooperation' halts investigation

Indian Intelligence Bureau obstructing investigation of Lal Mohammed murder case, complain Nepal Police officials

Published On: December 9, 2022 09:45 AM NPT By: Tapendra Karki

KATHMANDU, Dec 9: The Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) has allegedly shown unusual interest in the ongoing investigation on the incident related to the murder of 58-year-old Lal Mohammad (Mohammed Darzi) in Gothatar, Kathmandu in September. 

According to a highly-placed source at Nepal Police Headquarter, the IB, which is India’s domestic internal security and counter-intelligence agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs, has shown interest in the investigation of the Mohammad murder case as investigation officials are trying to reach closer to the mastermind of this murder incident.

Although it was revealed that Bablu Paswan from India was the mastermind of the murder, the main reason why the Nepal Police could not arrest him was the interest of the IB and the non-cooperation on the part of its Indian counterpart to arrest him. 

Paswan of Bihar Raxaul was the mastermind behind the murder, according to police investigation. However, the Indian side has not only shown reluctance to arrest him but also is trying to obstruct the ongoing investigation into the incident. Sources said that Inspector General of Nepal Police, Dhiraj Pratap Singh, has asked the Indian side not to obstruct the ongoing investigation into the murder of Mohammad, a Nepali national, after the IB showed undue interest.

"After the Indian Intelligence Bureau blocked further investigation into the Lal Mohammad murder incident, Inspector General Dhiraj Pratap Singh himself has spoken to his Indian counterpart in New Delhi and requested for cooperation to for the investigation," said a senior police officer, asking not to be named. 

Sources claimed that the local administration and police administration of India have not cooperated on this matter.

A probe committee was formed earlier under the coordination of SSP Janak Bhattarai, Chief of Kathmandu Valley Crime Investigation Office, to investigate the Mohammad murder case. The committee submitted a charge sheet to the Public Prosecutor's Office on November 18. A few accused in the murder incident arrested during the investigation have been remanded in custody.

The investigation has concluded that Mohammad's murder was planned by Indian Bablu Paswan. Police have arrested more than 25 people in the course of this murder case. Although the investigation was stopped during the election, the committee is working regularly. 

Nepal Police has started an investigation with the suspicion that he was involved in the uranium business along with Indian counterfeit notes and that he may have been connected to a terrorist network with the support of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Mohammad, who has a permanent home in Sarlahi Hariwan Municipality-2, was murdered on September 19 at Kageshwari-Manohara Municipality-8 Gothatar. He was shot dead in front of his garment company named Adventure Enterprises.

According to the police, Paswan has been sentenced to five years in jail in Birgunj on a drug smuggling case. "Bablu Paswan is not the shooter himself. The shooter is someone else. Everything else will be known only after he is arrested," said a member of the investigation committee. 

According to the police, Paswan brought the weapon and gave it to 21-year-old Mahoram Miya and 17-year-old Rehan Miya of Birgunj Metropolitan City-16. On his instructions, Mahoram and Rehan brought the weapons to Kathmandu and gave them to the shooter to kill Mohammad. However, it is not yet known who is the actual shooter in this incident.

Police investigation officials suspect that the shooter could be an Indian Army or a police person or any one with training to handle weapons," said a police source. Mohammad himself is a former shooter.

The police have sent 21-year-old Mahoram Miya of Birgunj-16, 17-year-old Rehan Miya of the same place and 21-year-old Susmita Syangtan (Sumi) of Makwanpur Bakaiya Rural Municipality-1, who were arrested on charges of involvement in the murder, to remand. The police have put six people on the absconding list including Paswan, a Nepali girl and Nitin Mohan Khan known as 'Guddu' from India. It is not clear whether the police could arrest them or not. More than 25 people have been arrested during the investigation. Based on the statements of all of them, the police have determined that Bablu Paswan is the mastermind,” said the source. It is understood that Nitin Mohan Khan managed the route to Kathmandu and Paswan assisted him for that.

Nepal Police suspect that IB used Paswan to kill Mohammad. Mohammad, who was accused of dealing counterfeit notes with the help of Pakistani terrorists, was under surveillance by the IEB.

Special Bureau of Nepal Police is also investigating the murder of Mohammed. According to an official of the Special Bureau involved in the investigation, the Indian police have not provided Paswan's details even though they have identified those involved in the murder. 

Although Nepal Police has identified the hiding places of the accused including Paswan, the Indian police have not helped them to arrest. "We have asked for help in arresting Bablu Paswan. But the Indian police have insisted that no such person was found," said the officer of the Special Bureau, asking not to be named.

After the non-cooperation of the Indian police, the investigation on the Mohmmad’s case has not progressed. "The reason why Lal Mohammad was killed will be revealed only after the arrest of Bablu Paswan," said the officer of the Special Bureau. 

The IB is India's domestic intelligence agency. IB officials have also visited Nepal time and again in connection with the investigation of various criminal incidents. They have also cooperated with the Nepal Police in some crime cases. However, Nepal Police complained that they did not cooperate with the Nepal Police in the Mohammad murder case. 

In the past, the Indian police also failed to arrest the accused including Bablu Srivastava. Officials at Nepal Police Headquarters said that the investigation is continuing even now. “We will try our best to bring Paswan to Nepal and carry out the further investigation,” said a senior official.

According to the police, a group of Lal Mohammad, Wahid Khan and others under the guise of a garment business carried out the business by bringing counterfeit Indian notes from Pakistan and Bangladesh. They were convicted by the court in the past and sent to jail. 

Mohammad spent nine years in prison and was released in 2074 BS in a government amnesty. After his release from prison, Mohammad started a garment company called Adventure Enterprises. According to a report prepared by the Special Bureau of Research and Analysis (RAW), the Indian intelligence agency, Mohammad used to play the role of middleman in counterfeit Indian currency smuggling from Nepal to India.

Sources claimed that IB is interested only after that report. IB and RAW had been looking for Mohammed for a long time. "Indian security officials were looking for Mohammad because he was involved in anti-Indian activities in collusion with international terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and was dealing in counterfeit Indian notes. He had links with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)," claimed an officer working in the Special Bureau of the Nepal Police.

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