The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police has recommended prosecuting former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara’s son Rahul Mahara and three others accused of involvement in the smuggling of nine kilograms of gold concealed in e-cigarettes (vapes) in December 2022.
The CIB submitted its investigation report on the case to the District Government Attorney’s Office, Kathmandu, on Friday. In the report, it has recommended prosecuting Rahul Mahara, Dawa Tsering, Lokendra Bahadur Paudel and Nima Gurung. However, it has said that former speaker Mahara need not be prosecuted, according to a CIB officer.
Joint Attorney Achyut Mani Neupane, chief of District Government Attorney’s Office, Kathmandu, also said that they have received the report along with the recommendation to prosecute four accused including Rahul Mahara.
Neupane said that they were studying the matter and would decide whether to register a case or not after they finish studying it.
The customs office at the Tribhuvan International Airport had confiscated 729 e-cigarettes from a Chinese national named Li Hansong who arrived on a Fly Dubai flight on December 25, 2022.
When Li claimed that the e-cigarettes were brought for business purpose, Chief Customs Officer Mukti Prasad Shrestha had ordered confiscation of the e-cigarettes giving one to the Chinese national for the latter’s use pointing that goods brought for commercial purpose cannot be cleared from the passengers’ section.
The Chinese national, who was allowed to leave after confiscation of the e-cigarettes, left Nepal after staying here for a few days.
The authorities found out that the e-cigarettes were actually gold only after investigations when a staffer at the customs office realized that the e-cigarettes were changed from the store.
A non-gazetted first-class official of TIA Customs Office Rewant Khadka and customs agent Dinesh Basnet had collaborated to change the e-cigarettes, extracted around nine kilograms of gold from the e-cigarettes and sold it for Rs 60 million by then.