Sudan scam convict, Bharati, driven to Himalayan Hotel by the police following a medical check-up in Bir HospitalRanipokhari Police Office is further investigating the case.
Sambhu Bharati, who has been serving time in Dillibazar prison after being convicted in the multi-million rupee embezzlement while purchasing armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for the Nepal Police peacekeeping troops in Sudan, was recently spotted at a hotel in Kathmandu.
“On November 6, Bharati was sent to Bir Hospital for treatment related to an orthopaedic ailment. After finishing the check-up, he was taken to Himalayan Hotel in Lazimpat for lunch, instead of being taken back to prison,” said Arun Pokhrel, jailor at Dillibazar prison.
Bharati is said to have spent nearly two hours at the hotel.
Every day, dozens of prisoners are taken out for hospital visits. They are transported straight back to prison after medical check-ups.
Pokhrel said Bharati’s was the first ever case in which a convict was taken elsewhere following the hospital visit.
“Ranipokhari Police Office is investigating into the case,” Pokhrel told the Post.
Bharati was caught out after one of the hotel staff found a letter issued by the prison authority regarding his hospital outing and handed it over to Lalitpur police.
“The letter was returned to the prison without my knowledge, so we have launched an internal investigation to find out if any of our officers were also involved in the case,” said SSP Tek Bahadur Rai, chief at Lalitpur Police Station.
Meanwhile, the officer in charge of Bharati’s hospital trip has been suspended from his duty.
“We have suspended Assistant Sub Inspector Prakash Dhat as he was in charge at the time of the incident,” Deputy Inspector General of Police Shailesh Thapa Kshetri told the Post. “It is not yet known for what purpose Bharati was taken to the Himalayan Hotel.”
Bharati, an agent of Assured Risk Company, was found involved in sending substandard consignments to the Nepal Police team deployed in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Sudan.
The Supreme Court on 13 February 2012 had convicted Bharati in absentia and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 142 million.
A team from the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police had arrested Sambhu from Bhaisipati, Lalitpur, on August 13, 2019.
Sudan scam is one of the biggest corruption scandals in the country where at least 34 police officials including two retired and one sitting police chiefs and two suppliers were accused of embezzling Rs 290 million out of a total transaction of Rs 445 million.