Three former police officials seek probe commissionThree Nepal Police former officials have demanded a commission or task force to investigate the 33kg gold smuggling case and subsequent murder of Sanam Shakya, an alleged gold carrier.
Three Nepal Police former officials have demanded a commission or task force to investigate the 33kg gold smuggling case and subsequent murder of Sanam Shakya, an alleged gold carrier.
Expressing displeasure at the ongoing investigation, former Nepal Police additional inspector general Rajendra Singh Bhandari and deputy inspector generals Hemanta Malla and Ramesh Kharel said the committee lacked expertise in handling such issues.
They demanded an independent body with the mandate to probe the nexus of gold smugglers as well as the recent incidents. The government has formed a committee under Home Ministry Joint-secretary Ishwor Poudel to investigate the case.
The former officials also defended Dibesh Lohani, Prajit KC and Bal Krishna Sanjel of Nepal Police saying that they had been arrested without substantial evidence. “Such acts will affect the morale of police officials,” Bhandari said, adding that the authorities could have studied the matter in detail before sending these officials to judicial custody. “The officers could have been investigated under the police regulations.”
According to former high-ranking police officials, the way the case has been handled will impact undercover operations in the days to come. “During my tenure, I made an attempt to sell 7kg hashish. And it was done to bring top layer of the organised crime under the purview of law,” Kharel said, detailing various techniques used by officials during covert operations.
SSP Lohani led the investigation into the murder of Shakya, an alleged gold-runner, and the disappearance of the precious metal, when he was the chief of the Metropolitan Police Crime Division. Lohani had sent DSP KC and Sub-inspector Sanjel to Morang to investigate the Shakya murder case and to apprehend Upreti.
Lohani claimed that he had got verbal permission from AIG Bam Bahadur Bhandari to investigate the case and that he had reported regularly to the police headquarters on the developments.
While several agencies have been making different claims and revelations over the case of murder and smuggling, Inspector General Sarbendra Khanal as well as former IG Prakash Aryal have remained conspicuously tight-lipped. Aryal was at the helm of the police force when the case came to light.
“The former leadership of Nepal Police is aware of every incident and action of this operation. It is the ineffectiveness of the former leadership that has chosen to remain quiet despite knowing everything,” Kharel said.
Malla, who led several undercover operations, said the current scenario will discourage police officers from taking the risk of investigating sensitive cases. He claimed that officials with high self-esteem were demoralised by the series of incidents. Malla said all three officials—SSP Lohani, DSP KC and SI Sanjel—have worked under him in different periods and are ‘high risk taker’ investigators.