Nepal’s former speaker arrested for alleged involvement in gold smuggling case

Krishna Bahadur Mahara is a senior member of the ruling party

Nepal former minister arrested Krishna Bahadur Mahara | Facebook

Former Speaker of Nepal's House of Representatives and a senior member of the ruling party Krishna Bahadur Mahara has been arrested and brought to Kathmandu for investigation into his alleged involvement in a major gold smuggling case, a media report said on Monday.

Mahara, vice-president of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda's ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), was arrested from Pakadi of Kapilvastu district earlier in the day and brought to the capital from the Bhairahawa airport, The Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.

Upon arrival in the capital, the 65-year-old was swiftly taken to the Central Investigation Bureau of the Nepal Police in Lazimpat, The Himalayan Times newspaper reported.

CIB spokesperson Hobindra Bogati said a case against the former speaker will be prepared and forwarded to the Attorney General's Office. Mahara will be produced in the court to extend his remand, he added.

Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane on Sunday had ordered police to implement a report of the inquiry commission on large-scale gold smuggling that pointed to Mahara's involvement in the case, the report said.

The commission, headed by a former High Court chief judge that submitted its report on Thursday, accused the CIB of making deliberate efforts not to investigate Mahara and former Nepal Police chief and Communist Part of Nepal (UML) leader Sarbendra Khanal in the gold scam.

After receiving the report, Home Minister Lamichhane submitted it to Prime Minister Prachanda following which the Cabinet on Friday decided to implement the recommendations of the inquiry commission.

The commission submitted its report after studying the lapses in police investigation into the smuggling of 60 kg of gold, which was hidden inside motorcycle brake shoes last year, and 9 kg of gold concealed inside e-cigarettes in December 2022, the report said.

In October last year, the District Attorney's Office filed a case against Mahara's son Rahul for his suspected role in smuggling 9 kg of gold.

Rahul was arrested on August 30 last year. According to a government report, the father-son duo had been in regular touch with Chinese gold smugglers, the report said.

Last week, the Nepal police arrested the son of former Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun in connection with a major gold smuggling scam.

In September last year, the CIB interrogated Dipesh Pun in connection with the smuggling of 60.716 kg of gold, which was seized soon after it passed undetected from Tribhuvan International Airport customs office in Kathmandu in July 2023.

A special team of Nepal Police arrested Dipesh Pun on March 15 from his residence at Dhapasi on the outskirts of Kathmandu, according to police spokesperson, Bhim Prasad Dhakal.

Dipesh, the general secretary of the All Nepal National Free Students Union (Revolutionary) the student wing of the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre) has close connections with Dawa Chhiring, the main suspect in the gold smuggling case.

Chhiring is currently under detention for investigation purposes.


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