KATHMANDU, Dec 21: Nepal Police has become successful in convincing the Interpol that the Red Corner Notice issued against most wanted wildlife 'smuggler' is valid and the police force is hopeful of getting judgment in its favor.
Last August, Baker had challenged the legality of the notice and the Interpol headquarters had subsequently suspended the Red Corner Notice issued against Baker following the appeal by the former to the global police body to review the notice. The legal affairs section of the Interpol, as per its rules on processing data, had sought clarifications on few related documents.
Responding to the Interpol's queries, the National Central Bureau (NCB) Kathmandu recently corresponded to its headquarters stating the legality and quality of the police investigation in the case.
“Earlier, the NCB Kathmandu had failed to convince the Interpol headquarters but the recent correspondence has helped in giving continuity to the notice,” said Nepal Police Spokesperson DIG Hemanta Malla.
“As we have adequate information and evidences that support the claim against Baker, Interpol has become convinced and now we are hopeful of the Red Corner Notice being reinstated in a few days,” he added.
Interpol had issued the notice on April 3, 2015 as per the recommendation made by the NCB Kathmandu, Interpol's Nepal office, on September 19, 2008.
During raids in Baker's apartment in Kathmandu in 2008, Nepal Police had found illegally-possessed wildlife body parts, trophies and other artifacts in huge quantity and had seized them.
Baker, a US citizen, was found to have been staying continuously in Nepal for more than 24 years and was known to be a contributor to the National Geographic television channel. He was not in Nepal during the surprise raid.
In his appeal to the Interpol, Baker had alleged the police of bargaining a hefty amount of money before seizing 'his collection' and that he was framed upon his failure to fulfill the police demand.
Interpol had expressed dissatisfaction over his prosecution by the Kathmandu District Forest Office (DFO), a quasi-judicial body, among others. Though the DFO was authorized to investigate and issue verdicts in forest-related cases, the Interpol had refused to entertain the case citing that the DFO was a bureaucratic entity and does not have the standing of a court of law.
After the suspension of the notice, Baker's name was removed from the wanted list in Interpol's official website. But Nepal Police officials had questioned the move of Interpol's.
Earlier, Interpol's joint operations in South Asian and South East Asian countries had tracked down Baker in Bhutan and in Thailand but were not able to make the arrest for lack of extradition treaties.