Four money changers booked in JhapaEastern region-based Office of Revenue Investigation Office (ORI) on Monday raided four money exchange firms in Jhapa for charging exorbitant fees while selling Indian currency.
Eastern region-based Office of Revenue Investigation Office (ORI) on Monday raided four money exchange firms in Jhapa for charging exorbitant fees while selling Indian currency.
According to ORI sources, they raided money changers in Jhapa—Jhapa Money Changer, Utsab, Srijanga
and Dulawari—and confiscated documents from their offices.
ORI chief Gaurishankar Upadhyaya said that they had carried out the raids amid complaints from the people that the money changers had been charging exorbitant fee. “We will punish them if found guilty.”
A six-member team led by ORI investigation officer Bhim Ghimire also included officials from the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).
But CIAA chief for the eastern region Dunduraj Basnet said the anti-graft body was just extending hand in the raid as action against money changers falls under the ORI’s jurisdiction. Although the central bank has issued them a licence clearly putting the ceiling of 40 paisa on every transaction of IRs100, they have been found charging 25 times more. The money changers in Jhapa have been charged of extorting fee of Rs60-70 for exchanging IRs1,000. The money changers are believed to be operating in collusion with racketeers of Indian currency to hike the exchange fees. People who go to India for medical treatment have been forced to pay higher exchange rates to buy Indian currency. “NRB makes available maximum amount of IRs5,000 in cash but additional money is needed to change Indian currency,” a local said. Lured by tidy returns, there has been a growing attraction towards the exchange business in the recent years. The number of exchangers has mushroomed over the last two years. The NRB regional office in Biratnagar has provided licence to 70 money changers in Biratnagar, Jhapa and Sunsari. There are 25 money changers in Jhapa. The number of money exchange firms has grown dramatically due to good earning, police said. “Some have started money exchange firms by giving up hotel business and some have jumped into the business selling off their vehicles,” noted a police officer.
The ORI team made a sudden raid on the four firms to ensure they had no chance to hide the evidence of possible cheating, said a participating official requesting anonimity. Police assisted the revenue investigation office in the raid, Superintendent of Police Thakur Gyawali said, but declined to elaborate. Tulasi Ghimire, NRB’s acting manager at its Biratnagar office, said that action could be taken against those money changers found charging unauthorised fee.
“We have not yet received formal complaints of money changers charging exorbitant fee,” said Ghimire.