National

Judicial Council forms panel to probe dubious release of gold smuggling suspects

  • Eight Biratnagar High Court judges recalled for enquiry
- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Mar 19, 2019-

The Judicial Council has formed a committee to probe the dubious release of some of the major suspects in the 33 kg gold smuggling case by the Biratnagar High Court.

According to an official at the council, a meeting on Monday decided to form a three-member enquiry committee led by Supreme Court Justice Kedar Prasad Chalise and Justice Meera Khadka and Justice Bishowambhar Prasad Shrestha as members.

“A preliminary investigation committee formed under Justice Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada in its report showed that the decisions to release the suspects were suspicious. So the council decided to form another committee to carry out further investigation,” Teknath Gautam, information officer at the Judicial Council Secretariat, told the Post.

Eight judges, whose role had come into question for issuing the release orders, have already been recalled by the council.

The council had recalled Judges Saranga Subedi, Nagendra Labh Karna, Thir Bahadur Karki, Umesh Raj Poudel and Umesh Kumar Singh from the on January 17, while the then chief judge, Kul Ratna Bhurtel, was summoned on January 21. Judges duo Janak Pandey and Sadhuram Sapkota were recalled on February 13.

“The committee formed under Justice Chalise has been given 45 days to submit its report. The council will take necessary action after the report is submitted,” said Gautam.

The individuals accused in the gold smuggling case, including SSP Dibesh Lohani, DSP Prajit KC, SP Bikash Raj Khanal, Sub-inspector Bal Krishna Sanjel, former DIG Govinda Niroula and traders Madan Silwal, Prabhat Agrawal and Rajendra Kumar Shakya, were released by the Biratnagar High Court on separate dates.

The released police officers have already resumed their services.

The Office of the Attorney General has filed a case at the Supreme Court demanding an overturn of the Biratnagar High Court decision. However, the hearing in the case has not been scheduled for more than two months now.

As per the Office of the Attorney General, the accused, who could face more than 10 years in jail, should be kept in judicial custody, given the strong evidence against them.

Published: 20-03-2019 07:00

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