Police are still clueless about 33 kg gold smuggling and Sanam Shakya murder caseThe murder of Sanam Shakya in March 2018 which exposed the country’s largest ever gold trafficking case remains unresolved.
The murder of Sanam Shakya in March 2018 which exposed the country’s largest ever gold trafficking case remains unresolved.
After nearly a year since Shakya’s body was discovered in a car boot in Biratnagar, police are still clueless about the missing 33 kg gold while several suspects, mostly police officers, have been freed by court orders.
The Morang District Police Office had chargesheeted 75 people in the case. Among them, SSP Dibesh Lohani, SP Bikashraj Khanal, DSP Prajit KC and Sub-inspector Balkrishna Sanjel were remanded at large by the Biratnagar High Court in September. All four officers have rejoined duty since their release.
According to the Nepal Police Headquarters, Lohani is currently at Nepal Police Academy; Khanal is at Police Tactical Training College, Nawalparasi; KC is in Metropolitan Traffic Police Division; and Sanjel is in Metropolitan Police Crime Division.
“The officers joined their regular duty after their release. Until the court says they are guilty, we cannot do anything. We will follow court orders,” SSP Uttam Raj Subedi, spokesperson for Nepal Police, told the Post.
A high-level probe team formed under Eshor Raj Poudel, joint-secretary at the Home Ministry, had implicated these officers.
Lohani, KC and Sanjel have been accused of mishandling the murder investigation of Shakya while they were in the Metropolitan Police Crime Division.
Shakya was an aide of Chudamani Upreti aka Gore, the main suspect in the gold smuggling case.
“The accused police officers were not directly linked in the smuggling case but had helped Gore to escape while investigating the murder of Shakya. They didn’t even investigate the murder case well,” said SSP Basanta Lama, chief of Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, and a member of the high-level probe team.
Then, Lohani was the chief of the MPCD while KC and Sanjel were in the investigating team.
Similarly, Khanal has been accused of aiding the traffickers pass the gold through the airport. Former DIG Govinda Niraula has also been accused for providing similar help while he was posted at the airport.
Niraula, too, has been released by the High Court.
The court had released the officers by overturning the decision of the Morang District Court to keep them in judicial custody.
The Office of Attorney General has filed a case at the Supreme Court demanding overturn of the High Court decision. The case was filed following a letter from the High Government Attorney Office, Biratnagar.
The Office of the Attorney General said that the Supreme Court was yet to schedule the hearing date.
The 33kg gold had disappeared from Anamnagar after being smuggled through the Tribhuvan International Airport in January 2018.
In December 2018, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Kolkata, had confiscated exactly 33kg gold from Hem Prasad Sharma and Rakesh Prasad—both of whom have been named in the report of the Poudel-led probe team. But since Sharma and Prasad are being held in India for investigation, the authorities in Nepal have not confirmed if the gold seized from the duo is the missing haul.