KATHMANDU, Oct 7: Two 'gamblers' died as they jumped off the second floor of a 'gambling den' in their attempt to avoid arrest by police during a search and arrest operation by the Metropolitan Police Range Office in Mulpani on Friday at 9:30 pm.
The deceased have been identified as Som Lal Tamang, 38, of Melamchi, Sindhupalchowk and Saroj Ghale, 43, of Mahankal, Kathmandu.
Acting on information provided by the locals that dozens of unidentified people gather at the house of Tedung Sherpa in Mulpani every night, a police team consisting of 20 personnel in plain clothes and 15 in police uniform led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Hememdra Bogati surrounded the house by 9:30 PM.
“The locals suspected that some kind of criminal activity was being planned in the house,” DSP Bogati said, “A lot of vehicles would come to the house every night.”
The police team found a heavy padlock locking a channel gate in the first floor when they tried to reach the second floor of the three-and-half story house. The 'gamblers' found out about the operation and tried to escape then. “While we were busy trying to break the padlock with a stone we heard people saying 'don't jump' from inside,” DSP Bogati recalled, “We, from the first floor, too asked them not to jump but two of them jumped off.”
Police said that the two men had tried to jump from the window to the terrace of another house but failed to reach there. They fell on a tin hut and subsequently landed on concrete floor. The police rushed them in a police vehicle to B and B hospital where they breathed their last.
Leader of the gambling hub escapes
Police investigation has found that the leader of the gambling hub Hema Gurung who has been repeatedly arrested for gambling was in the house at the time of police operation. But she escaped while the police were trying to break the padlock. According to the police, she along with three other women organized the gambling as well as brought food and beer into the house for the gamblers. About eight other gamblers too were able to escape.
Chief of Metropolitan Police Range Office, Kathmandu, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Basant Lama said that the investigation has shown that the gambling was well-planned.
“The investigation has also revealed that most of the gamblers who were arrested had previously been arrested for gambling,” SSP Lama said. He said that one of them, Sharmila Khadka is one of the 24 arrestees. He also informed that the house owner was paid Rs 10,000 every night for allowing gambling at his house.
Police have confiscated 16 sets of kauda (shells), three sets of playing cards and Rs 448,225 from the 'gambling den'. According to DSP Bogati, the gamblers were successful in hiding more of the amount. The search team also found swords in the house. “The swords found in the house indicate the criminal background of the gamblers,” SSP Lama said.
In addition to the amount and gambling materials, police have also confiscated eight motorcycles and one car belonging to the gamblers from the house.