KATHMANDU, May 8: Former Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Nepal Police, Bigyan Raj Sharma has claimed that two people arrested by the police in connection with the fake Bhutanese refugees scam earlier were released under political pressure when Nepali Congress (NC) leader Bal Krishna Khand was serving as the home minister.
Former AIG Sharma has made a video on the scam and posted it on the social network Tik Tok, explaining what had happened at that time. He has claimed that the victims of the gang that planned to take Nepalis to the US under the guise of Bhutanese refugees during the government led by KP Sharma Oli had filed a complaint with the police after the fall of his government.
Sharma said that two accused were arrested by the Criminal Investigation Division of Nepal Police after receiving the complaint. At that time, Khand was the home minister. "At that time, the arrested were released under political pressure," Sharma, who retired from AIG in February 2017, has said.
Sharma has said that a total of 20 complaints have been filed so far and the scam involves a fraud of around Rs 400 million with a total of 145 victims approaching police for justice so far.
In the TikTok video he has said:
The mastermind behind this scam is Keshav Dulal, who served as the personal secretary of Sujata Koirala when she was the foreign minister. He had already learned everything about the Bhutanese refugee resettlement process and then shared all of this information with his friend Sanu Bhandari.
Sanu Bhandari used to call the Deputy Prime Minister (Top Bahadur Rayamajhi), who is currently absconding, as his maternal uncle. He became close to him, although he [Rayamaji] used to say that he was just facilitating him. If only facilitation had been done, why should he be absconding now? He should have come forward and told his version of the story. Since he [Rayamajhi] along with his son was with him, his [Bhandari’s] self-confidence further increased.
As they started to work, they started looking for fake refugees who could pay them money. They started looking for people in Jhapa Morang in the east, Dang, Pyuthan, Salyan, Rukum, Rolpa and Gorkha in the west.
Meanwhile, Ram Bahadur Thapa from Maoist Center also became the home minister. Indrajit Rai became his security adviser. Along with Rai, Ram Bahadur Thapa's son [Pratik Thapa] against whom an arrest warrant has been issued, also started getting involved in it. The victims were reassured even by showing them photographs.
It is a well-known fact that the sons of Ram Bahadur Thapa and Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun had significant interference in the home administration during that time. They used to micromanage things in the home ministry. After Indra Jit Rai was appointed as a security advisor, the home administration started colluding with those involved in the gang. It was around the same time that a task force was formed under the leadership of a Joint Secretary to determine the refugees not included in the resettlement list. The task force came up with the name of 429 refugees whose names it said were not included in the list, but these middlemen inserted the name of an additional 125 persons in the annex of the same list. How this document came out to the public from the country's home administration is a very sensitive issue.
However, in the meantime, the UML-led government collapsed, and there was a hue and cry about how to expedite the process. Some of the refugees were even returned the money they had given. But those who did not get their money back sought the help of the police. The police arrested two persons when Bal Krishna Khad was the home minister, but they were later released under political pressure.
As they found it difficult to expedite the process, they turned to Home Secretary Tek Narayan Pandey - although, of course, the Secretary may not have worked without the green signal from political leadership. This is something the investigation may reveal in the future - This made their work easier, and they continued to send people under the guise of Bhutanese refugees to the US. However, later things did not go as planned.