SSP Lohani under probe in gold smuggling case

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Apr 6, 2018-

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday directed Nepal Police Headquarters to recall Senior Superintendent of Police Dibesh Lohani from the Metropolitan Police Crime Division to allow for further probe into a gold smuggling case.

The ministry had formed a probe panel led by Joint-secretary Ishwor Poudel after the government on April 1 decided to form a high-level committee to look into the murder of Sanam Shakya, a gold trader.

Home Ministry Spokesperson Ram Krishna Subedi confirmed the transfer order. He declined to comment further, saying: “We cannot discuss the details of investigation.”

The Police HQ has also been studying the role of police in Shakya’s murder. His body was recovered on a vehicle during a security check in Lahan, Siraha, on March 3. A team from the MPCD recovered the body from a Mahindra Scorpio vehicle [Ba 12 Cha 5963]. Shakya had been missing for four days.

The case took a mysterious turn when the complainant alleged that investigating officers are shielding the kingpin of the smuggling gang and booking ‘mules’ (carriers).

The case garnered so much attention that even the Cabinet took a decision to investigate the case further. Ministry sources said personnel at the Crime Division did not act professionally while conducting the probe. “It’s better to relieve the chief of the crime division so that a fair investigation may be carried out,” said an official who is closely following the ministry’s action.

Investigation by the Headquarters also indicated a few junior police officials from the crime division may have been in touch with the gold smugglers. It is however not clear if SSP Lohani himself was associated with the incident.

Police said Shakya was a porter of a Kathmandu-based gold smuggler and his death might be linked to the hidden 32 kilograms of the precious metal. The gold that was supposed to be distributed inside Kathmandu and some parts of eastern Nepal was apparently lost en route.

After complaint at the headquarters, DIG Puskal Regmi was assigned to investigate the matter. “They’re still investigating. We haven’t got the final report on the case,” said Nepal Police Spokesperson DIG Manoj Neupane.

Published: 06-04-2018 08:36

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