Police have seized a vehicle belonging to the Home Ministry which investigation has shown to have been used in the fake Bhutanese refugees scam.
The vehicle currently has an embossed white number plate with the registration number B-AB1405.
According to a police source, the vehicle had been repeatedly used by the racket involved in the scam to transport people promising to send them to America as well as to transport money collected from such people.
The vehicle had also been used earlier by changing the number plate a number of times, the source said. It had a number plate with the number Ba 1 Jha 1581 at one point in time.
The police had received information about the use of a Home Ministry vehicle by the racket, but they were confused when the number plate turned out to be different. They finally impounded the vehicle a few days ago after verifying it with the Department of Transport Management.
According to the police source, the racket is found have traveled to Chitwan in the vehicle. Members of the racket had called several people to Chitwan and interviewed them on the pretext of sending them abroad. They had arrived in Chitwan in the vehicle to make it appear that the interviews were conducted by the Home Ministry.
The vehicle belongs to the Nepal Hajj Committee under the Home Ministry. Shamsher Miya, president of the committee, has also been absconding. Police are investigating Miya’s involvement in the scam.
They are also investigating who had driven the vehicle to Chitwan. Police believe it may have been easy for the racket to use the vehicle as it had a white number plate and the Home Ministry’s vehicles are mostly driven by police personnel.
The vehicle has been kept at the District Police Range, Kathmandu.
The police source said that suspended CPN-UML Secretary and former deputy prime minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi had let Sandesh Sharma, one of the racket members arrested in the case, use his vehicle at one point.
Police have so far arrested 14 people including Rayamajhi, former home minister Bal Krishna Khand, and former home secretary Tek Narayan Pandey in connection with the scam. Among them, only former Nepali Congress lawmaker Angtawa Sherpa has yet to give his statement.
The Kathmandu District Court on Wednesday extended the custody of the 14 by three days.