Six handed life sentences for smuggling goldThe six were accused of smuggling of 33kg gold and murdering an alleged carrier in 2018. The Morang District Court acquitted all police personnel implicated in the crime.
The Morang District Court on Tuesday handed life sentences to six people accused in the 33kg gold smuggling case and the subsequent murder of Sanam Shakya, an alleged carrier of smuggled gold whose body was found in a jeep in Siraha on March 3, 2018.
Chudamani Upreti alias Gore is said to have tortured Shakya to death to extract information about the disappeared gold.
A single bench of judge Bharat Lamsal passed the life sentence verdict to the main accused Gore, Tekraj Malla Thakuri, Lhakpa Sherpa, Mohan Kafle, Narendra Karki and Bhojraj Bhandari.
The bench also sentenced Rajan Kumar to three years and Madan Prasad Ghimire to six months prison terms for their involvement in Shakya’s murder, informed court’s registrar Tikendra Bir Jung Rana.
The court, however, acquitted all police personnel accused in the case.
A probe committee formed under the then joint secretary of the Home Ministry Ishwar Raj Poudel had implicated several police personnel in the scam.
Lamsal’s bench gave clean chit to all sitting and retired police personnel, including former DIG Govinda Prasad Niraula, then SSP Shyam Bahadur Khatri, DIG Dibesh Lohani, SP Birakraj Khanal, DSP Sanjay Bahadur Raut, DSP Prajit KC, Sub-Inspector Bal Krishna Sanjel and police constable Sanjib Shakya.
Except for Khatri and Raut, all police personnel were remanded at large by the Biratnagar High Court in September 2018.
Tuesday’s verdict has officially acquitted every police personnel accused in the case of all charges.
The 33kg gold smuggled through the Tribhuvan International Airport had mysteriously disappeared from Kathmandu. The smuggling case drew much public attention following the murder of Shakya, a resident of Urlabari in Morang, on March 2, 2018, exposing the country’s largest-ever gold trafficking case.
The Morang District Police Office had chargesheeted 75 people in the case.
During the investigation, police had found that Gore and his associates had managed to smuggle more than 3,790 kg gold from Dubai via Tribhuvan International Airport in 421 trips since July 2015.