KATHMANDU, July 28: The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) has launched a manhunt for Rakesh Kumar Adukia, who is one of the two prime suspects on the DRI 'radar' since the seizure of around 100 kg of smuggled gold from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Kathmandu.
It is suspected that Adukia is on the run after he drew media attention on his alleged involvement in gold smuggling. Not only him, but his son has also reportedly fled to New Delhi after the seizure of the gold, according to DRI sources. Although it was found that he was involved in smuggling gold into Nepal from Hong Kong, he managed to flee because the authorities did not take timely action to arrest him.
The DRI raided his house in Kamalpokhari on Wednesday evening, a week after the gold was recovered, but he was not there. Although some documents were found, Adukia had already fled.
Controversial businessman Adukia has been trading silver since quite some time after establishing an office in Hong Kong. Earlier, he was involved in the Gorkha Development Bank scam as well. He was also active in the trading of stock markets till 2009.
Adukia, who happens to be a relative of Laxmi Bank's then owner Rajendra Khetan, fled without building a tower after taking a loan of Rs 900 million from Gorkha Bank to build a financial tower in Kamaladi. After 2009, Adukia opened a commodity marketing company called Wealth Exchange.
According to sources, he has an office in Kowloon City, Hong Kong. Sources claimed that not only him, but also other businessmen involved in gold smuggling have offices in Hong Kong and from there they play a supporting role in gold smuggling. Sources have claimed that 'Ready Trade' that brought about 100 kg of gold concealed in brake shoes was also opened according to his plan.
“An investigation is now underway. Investigation is being done on the basis of facts and evidence,” said Navraj Dhungana, the director general of the DRI.
The DRI also raided the showroom of Ready Trade after it was discovered that gold was smuggled by concealing it in various imported goods from Hong Kong. Adukia's involvement came to light during the investigation after the seizure of the smuggled gold brought through the Cathay Pacific. Based on this, the department raided his residence.
A recent travel history of businessman Adukia shows that he flew from Kathmandu to New Delhi on April 13 on board a Nepal Airlines Corporation flight number RA 217, and from there to Hong Kong and arrived in Kathmandu on April 19 via Bangkok’s Thai Smile flight number W0319.
Similarly, on June 26, he reached Hong Kong again via New Delhi at 12:30 AM in flight number RA 0217 of Nepal Airlines Corporation. After a 12-day stay, he arrived in Kathmandu on a Fly Dubai flight from Hong Kong via Dubai on July 5. After that, smuggled gold was recovered in Nepal.
“We have seen his travel details. The trip itself is questionable. His past track record of taking loans from banks and financial institutions of Nepal has raised suspicion. Investigation is underway,” said an official of the DRI.
Before that, according to the information provided by the DRI, Adukia left Kathmandu for Hong Kong on May 26 and returned back to Kathmandu five days later on May 30.
He also went to Hong Kong on January 14. After staying for a week, he returned to Kathmandu in Cathay Pacific on January 21. Adukia was placed under suspicion radar on the day the smuggled gold was recovered by the DRI.
Businessman Deepak Malhotra, who was under suspicion along with him, held a press conference claiming that he was not involved in gold smuggling.“Adukia absconded when the DRI delayed arresting him,” said an official of the DRI. According to him, Adukia got a chance to escape because it took time to gather facts and evidence against him.