LAHAN, April 6 Police took into custody three individuals here including a woman Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in the buying and selling of illegal gold . Sandip Soni, a local jewelry shop owner was caught while buying gold bracelets weighing 50 grams but was released later. However, police kept Mohammad Sajabul Shaikh of Kalyanpur Municipality-1under judicial custody after confiscating some drugs and a bullet from him.
Shaikh had first gone to Soni's shop (Ma Durga Jewelers) in Lahan-7 for selling the gold. But as the shop was closed , he waited at a local tea stall. As soon as Soni came and was handed the gold, police turned up. As mentioned in the receipt, the gold was purchased from Gulf Jewelry Doha in Qatar. Likewise, the name of the buyer was mentioned in the receipt as Ram Gopal Mandal.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Ganesh Chand at the Area Police Office, Lahan informed that Soni was released after examining the receipt. "We had to release him as there was no evidence of his involvement in any crime," said Chand.
There is never a shortage of gold in the market despite the fluctuation in price.
According to jewelers, around 40 kg of gold is consumed in Nepal on a daily basis. Every day, Rastra Bank issues 15 kg of gold through various banks. But the question is where does the remaining 25 kg come from, Bharat Agrawal, chairperson of District Gold and Silver Entrepreneur Union (DGSEU) Siraha, informed that the district receives a total of 6 kg a month from the banks .
Out of this total of 6 kg , DGSEU is provided 4 kg while 2 kg is provided to Lahan Municipal Gold Silver Entrepreneur Union (LMGEU). There are more than 150 jewelry shops in the district but Lahan is the largest market with 50 jewelry shops. As stated by Shyam Sah, chairperson of LMGEU, it is not possible to meet the demand with the 2 kg supplied by banks.
In recent days, gold coming from the Gulf countries is rampant in local shops. Jewelers prefer the imported gold as it is cheaper than gold supplied by banks and it's also easy to evade tax as there are no records. Many jewelers have been carrying out their business with gold imported from the Gulf . According to some businessmen, this has affected the market price . "There is a difference of almost Rs. 10,000 in these two types of gold," said one businessmen, adding," people will obviously go for the cheaper ."
Gold from the Gulf comes is large caches via the Indian market. As per some sources, the Indian market is the first priority for agents and businessmen handling Gulf gold. The gold comes to the local market only if it does not make it into the Indian market. Local businessmen have been using youths in the Gulf countries to bring in the gold.
The illegal gold in Lahan is an open secret, just like hundi, the informal money transfer channel. "As Lahan is contiguous with the Indian border, gold smuggling and hundi have become rife of late," said one of local businessman requesting anonymity.