The District Government Attorney’s Office (DGAO), Kathmandu, has filed a case at the Kathmandu District Court against 29 individuals over the smuggling of 60 kg gold.
Joint Attorney at the DGAO Achyut Mani Neupane said that the case was filed at the Kathmandu District Court on Sunday.
According to Neupane, the DGAO has made 29 defendants in the case charging them with offenses under the Prevention of Organized Crime Act 2070, sub-section 1(b) of section 57(1)(d) of the Customs Act 2064, section 95 of the Nepal Rastra Bank Act 2058, and section 43 of the National Penal Code 2074.
The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police had concluded that 50 people were involved in the smuggling of 60.716 kg of gold in July. But it later recommended prosecuting only 29 of them.
The defendants include Chinese nationals Yao Pucheng (also known as Alex), Li Wen Tsung aka Ali, Li Nengkai aka Roger or Steps, Ding Sheng Fa aka Sauten, Lin Zeqiang, Yang Wen, Mi Tian, Indian national Thupting Tsering aka Tasi, and Belgian national Dawa Tsering.
The other defendants are Harka Raj Rai, Krishna Kumar Shrestha, Pushkar Raj Bhatta, Rajendra Kumar Rai, Yadav Parajuli, Sudarshan Gautam, Ram Kumar Bhujel, Dilip Bhujel, Suman Kharel, Shiva Kumar Sarraf, Kishor Basnet, Santosh Chand, Ganesh Prasad Paudel, Birendra Nepali, Kumar Dhakal, Saroj Shrestha and Rukmina Subba.
Bhola Sah Sonar of Kalaiya Sub-metropolitan City-1, Jeevan Chalaune of Bardiya, and Amala Rokka Magar of Rolpa have also been made defendants but they are still absconding.
Rokka Magar has close connection with CPN (Maoist Center) leaders. Her husband Dawa Tsering, who has also been made a defendant, is considered to be the biggest fish among those arrested until now.
The CIB had submitted its investigation report to the DGAO on Wednesday demanding claims of Rs 3.50 billion.
It said that the racket that smuggled 60 kilograms of gold had smuggled a total of 362 kilograms of gold.
CIB chief AIG Kiran Bajracharya said that the case was part of international organized crime involving Nepali, Indian and Chinese citizens.
“Apart from the 60 kilograms of gold recovered that day, we have found another 302 kilograms smuggled in the name of Ready Trade Pvt Ltd,” AIG Bajracharya said.
The CIB has arrested 32 people in connection with the case while 18 others are absconding. The arrested persons include 23 Nepalis and nine foreigners while the absconding 18 include 14 foreigners and four Nepalis.
A team from the Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) had confiscated a huge quantity of gold hidden inside brake shoes of scooters during a cargo inspection on July 18 after it has passed undetected through customs at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu.
The gold was brought on a Cathay Pacific Airways flight from Hong Kong. The brake shoes were imported by Ready Trade Pvt Ltd.
The DRI had sent the seized goods, packed in eight boxes, to the Mint Division of Nepal Rastra Bank on July 20 to determine the actual weight of the smuggled gold.
However, the Mint Division removed the gold from the brake shoes only on August 14 after receiving a letter from the CIB. The weight of the gold was then found to be 60.789 kilograms.
The actual quantity of gold was determined to be 60.716 kilograms when it was melted and weighed again the next day.
The DRI had initially investigated the accused under the Revenue Leakage (Investigation and Control) Act, while the CIB investigated them under the Customs Act and organized crime after taking charge of the case.