KATHMANDU, Dec 22: Alarmed by the confiscation of 33 gold bars weighing one kilogram each from two Nepalis in India on December 7, Nepal Police has started trying to connect the dots between the confiscated gold and the ones which had mysteriously ‘disappeared’ from the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on January 21.
As of now, police officials have expressed conflicting views regarding the two incidents.
According to a high-ranking police official at the Nepal Police headquarters, police are convinced that the gold seized from the Nepali nationals at Dankuni Toll Plaza along the Delhi-Kolkata highway is not the one lost from Nepal’s airport. Rejecting the claims that the case is connected to the 33.5 kg gold scam, the official said, “How can we say for sure that the cases are connected just because the amount of seized gold matched the amount lost?”
Officials from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) of India had seized 33 kg of gold from Lucknow on December 6 too. In that case, too, the seized gold was believed to be of foreign origin.
Earlier, rumors had emerged that the names of Rakesh Prasad and Hem Prasad Sharma of Itahari who were arrested from Kolkata for possessing the gold, were included in Sanam Shakya’s register. Shakya, a co-conspirator of the 33 kg gold scam, was allegedly murdered by the major suspect of the gold scam Chudamani Upreti aka Gore.
However, police officials claimed that the names found in the register may not be actually the names of the arrestees. Chief of the Metropolitan Police Range (MPR), Kathmandu, SSP Basanta Lama, who oversaw the investigation into the 33.5 kg gold scam, claimed that even though the names were found in the register, police are not certain that the arrestees were involved in the gold scam.
“There are many names in the register and the names do not even contain surnames,” SSP Lama told Republica, adding, “Even though we have suspected that they were involved in the scam, we cannot ascertain our claim until we get to investigate the arrestees.”
Meanwhile, spokesperson of Nepal Police, SSP Uttam Raj Subedi, said that Nepal Police has not yet received any official notice from the government to carry out an investigation into the case. He, however, claimed that Nepal Police has been coordinating with its Indian counterpart over the case.
Recently, a high-level committee formed by the home ministry to probe the 33.5 kg gold scam and Sanam Shakya murder case had claimed that the arrest of two Nepali citizens for possessing 33 kg gold in India was connected to the 33.5 kg gold that was lost from the TIA 11 months ago.