33-kg-gold smuggling case: Hari Sharan Khadka, alleged supplier arrested from airportKhadka will be sent to Biratnagar as a case against him is pending in Morang District Court.
Hari Sharan Khadka, 42, one of the fugitives of the 33.5 kg gold scam, was arrested on Saturday after Tribhuvan International Airport immigration staff found Khadka’s criminal record in their database while he was trying to exit after landing in Kathmandu.
Khadka, who hails from Kavrepalanchok district, was identified as one of the owners of a huge cache of gold that was seized by the Central Investigation Bureau.
According to a CIB report, submitted to the District Attorney Office in March 2017, Khadka and Guptalal Bhusal aka Roshan were the suppliers of the 33 kg gold illegally brought from Dubai as they were running a gold smuggling racket from the United Arab Emirates.
According to Ramesh Kumar KC, director-general of the Department of Immigration, Khadka was arrested after the immigration department found the record of his involvement in criminal activities during a regular inspection.
“We have the software linked with Interpol data, which has records on fugitives and wanted criminals,” said KC. During the check, when Khadka’s passport details matched the records of wanted criminals, police were informed.
Ram Tripal Shah, chief of the Airport Police, confirmed the arrest. “Khadka came to Nepal from Abhu Dhabi on a repatriation flight of Himalaya Airlines at around 10:45 am,” said Shah.
“After the immigration informed police, he was sent to the Metropolitan Police Circle, Gaushala.”
In February 2019, Khadka was arrested by the UAE police after the Interpol issued a Red Notice against 12 individuals including Khadka on July 25, 2018 for his involvement in the 33-kg gold smuggling.
“However, Khadka was released later as he had not committed any crime in the UAE and deportation based only on the Red notice is not necessary,” said an officer at the Interpol on condition of anonymity.
“Many have the misconception that a red notice is an international arrest warrant but it is not,” said the officer. Interpol is an international organisation of 194 member states created to enhance worldwide police cooperation. It does not have the power to arrest or detain anybody.
According to the officer, a red notice simply requests assistance in locating someone and it is voluntary, no state is legally obliged to arrest somebody based on a red notice.
“Khadka had some repairing business in the UAE and had been there for over a decade. However, as her wife and children had been living in Nepal for the past six years, he came here to meet them and got arrested,” said the officer.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Niraj Bahadur Shahi, spokesperson for the Nepal Police, said Khadka will be sent to Biratnagar as the case against him is pending in Morang District Court.
In a major smuggling case, 33.5 kgs of the yellow metal had 'disappeared' mysteriously from the Kathmandu airport in November 2017. The government had also formed a high-level committee to probe the scam and the subsequent murder of Sanam Shakya.
Khadka had gone to the UAE for employment but later turned to smuggling. The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police had concluded that Khadka was one of the five Nepalis supplying gold to Chudamani Upreti aka Gore, who in collusion with senior officers, smuggled the precious metal into the country. Upreti was arrested in May, 2018.
The 33kg gold had disappeared from Kathmandu before reaching its intended destination. The case drew widespread attention following the murder of Shakya, an alleged carrier. He was tortured to death in Urlabari on March 2, 2018, and his body was recovered from a vehicle in Biratnagar the following day. Police investigation concluded that Shakya had died of electric shock.