Absconding UML leader Rayamajhi arrestedThe former deputy PM was on the run since May 4.
Police on Sunday evening arrested the absconding UML leader and former deputy prime minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi from Budhanilakantha in Kathmandu in connection with the Bhutanese refugee scam.
Rayamajhi had been on the run since May 4 after the Kathmandu District Court issued an arrest warrant against him and his son. Police have already arrested his son, Sandeep.
According to Senior Superintendent Dan Bahadur Karki, chief of the District Police Range Kathmandu, Rayamajhi was arrested from Pasikot in Budhanilkantha on the northern rim of Kathmandu.
“He is being brought to the Metropolitan Police Range at Teku,” Karki told the Post.
He was arrested on the charge of fraud and organised crime, according to a statement issued by the police range.
This has taken the total number of arrests in the scam to 13. They have been accused of falsifying government documents to send people to the US as Bhutanese refugees.
Earlier in the day, the Kathmandu District Court extended the custody of 12 individuals, including former home minister Bal Krishna Khand, who have been arrested in connection with the scam, by four days.
The court on Sunday also issued an arrest warrant against Nepali Congress leader and former lawmaker Ang Tawa Sherpa and Pratik Thapa, son of CPN-UML vice-chair Ram Bahadur Thapa, who is also a former home minister, for their alleged involvement in the scam. Hundreds of people were allegedly swindled out of millions of rupees with promises to send them to the US as Bhutanese refugees.
The police, on May 10, had arrested Congress leader Khand from his residence in Maijubahal as well as his personal aide Narendra KC, in connection with the scam. The duo was arrested after Tek Narayan Pandey, currently a secretary at the Vice President’s office and former home secretary, allegedly implicated them in the refugee scam. Pandey was appointed a secretary at the home ministry by Khand when he was the minister.
On May 9, two individuals—Govinda Chaudhary of Siraha and Ram Sharan KC of Kathmandu—were arrested from the Capital in connection with the case.
Earlier, the police arrested Indrajit Rai, who served as security adviser to the then home minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, for his active role in helping forge government documents.
Police have also apprehended Keshav Dulal, Sanu Bhandari, Sagar Thulung Rai, Tanka Gurung and Sandesh Sharma Pokhrel as the suspected prime accused in the case. All of them had strong political connections.
Meanwhile, the Kathmandu District Attorney’s Office has directed Nepal Police to complete all the ongoing investigations in the scam and present a report within four days.
“Today marks the 51st day of investigation and we have only eight days remaining as per the law,” said Achyut Mani Neupane, joint district attorney of Kathmandu. “We need to do all the paperwork and determine what kind of charges can be brought against the accused based on the evidence.”
Police must complete all investigations and file the case at the court within 60 days.
Neupane said if the police handed over all necessary documents to the district attorney’s office by Wednesday, his office would have six days to complete the remaining task.