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33kg gold smuggling case: Property details of 3 accused sought

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 17, 2018-

The Department of Money Laundering Investigation has sought details of properties owned by three main accused in the 33kg gold smuggling case as the watchdog probes their income.

The department has been interrogating Chudamani Upreti aka Gore, Bhujung Gurung and Tsering Wangel Ghale since Monday after the Morang District Court sent them to the department for probe.

The department had initiated probe into their illegal income after the Morang District Attorney’s Office, which lodged murder, organised crime, abduction and hostage taking cases against 63 suspects including the three, had also recommended that the department probe money laundering charges against the accused other than government officials. They also face charges of murdering the alleged gold carrier, Sanam Shakya.

“We have sought details of property in cash, shares and land by writing to the Financial Information Unit of Nepal Rastra Bank, the Securities Board of Nepal, and the Department of Land Revenue Offices,” said Jiwan Prakash Sitaula, director general of the department. “We’ll tally the details provided by these agencies with the ones mentioned by the accused to see if their wealth is illegal.”

The government has already frozen the bank accounts and property of the accused. The department plans to seek details of property from the accused themselves within this week. It also plans to conclude the interrogation with the three main accused within next week.

The department is seeking to find the details of other people involved in gold smuggling including those who directed them to smuggle gold so that it could dig out their ill-gotten wealth.

“For this, we are also coordinating with the probe committee headed by Home Ministry Joint-secretary Ishwor Poudel,” said Sitaula. Department officials said the three accused had been “relatively cooperative” during the interrogation so far. They believe that the three accused could lead to those who directed them to smuggle gold and benefited from it.

On May 2, the Morang District Attorney’s Office filed a charge sheet against 63 suspects, seeking to recover Rs17 billion, on top of an additional Rs18 million in fines, from them.

In the charge sheet registered at the Morang District Court, the prosecutor said it had recommended that constitutional and government bodies study three additional charges—corruption, money laundering and foreign exchange misappropriation—by the accused.

Published: 17-06-2018 08:05

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