More Arrests On Forgery


With fresh arrests in connection with the forged Bhutanese refugee case, the police administration has intensified its investigation into it. A team deployed by Kathmandu Police Circle detained former Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand from his residence located at Maijubahal of Kathmandu on Wednesday. The high-profile arrest was made on the basis of the statement given by the then Home Secretary Tek Narayan Pandey to police investigators. Pandey, who has been in police custody for the past one week, conceded that he had worked under Khand's instructions. Khand is a central committee member of the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) party. The police team probing the case is reported to have found sufficient evidences showing his involvement in the fraud. Another high-profile politician, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, is also suspected to have worked in collusion with an illegal racket. 

A former deputy prime minister, Rayamajhi is a secretary of the CPN-UML and member of the House of Representatives. He has been on the run for the past couple of days. However, his son Sandeep has already been in police net. What is baffling is that Rayamajhi sent an email to the Speaker on Wednesday, claiming that he was undergoing his medical treatment. But he has neither specified his health issue nor has he disclosed the place where he has been staying. No sooner had an arrest warrant was issued against him last week than he disappeared. He is reported to have attended an event in his home district of Arghakhanchi last week. The CPN-UML on Wednesday suspended him considering the fact that his disappearance could cause damage to the party's image. 

The police administration has begun cracking down the racket on the basis of complaints lodged by the victims. According to reports maintained by Nepal Police, nearly 900 Nepalis are believed to have been swindled millions of rupees on the pretext of sending them to the United States as false Bhutanese refugees. As of now, altogether 106 victims have registered 20 combined complaints against the tricksters related to the scam. They have claimed that the frauds had cheated as much as Rs. 232.5 million from them. Various suspicious activities such as distortion of the government reports carried out during the tenures of Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ and Khand at the Ministry of Home Affairs have shown that the home administration was misused. As of Thursday afternoon, police have arrested as many as 12 persons, including Khand, his personal assistant Narendra KC, the erstwhile security advisor of Badal Dr. Indra Jit Rai and some middlemen— Keshav Dulal, Sanu Bhandari, Tanka Gurung, Sandesh Sharma and Sagar Thulung. In course of investigation, more suspects, including prominent politicians and bureaucrats, are expected to be detained. 

As investigation into the scam continued, the government has drawn applauds from different sections of the society. The political parties have promised to extend their necessary support to the government in bringing the truth to light and taking legal action against all those found guilty in the case. Three main political parties-- Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre)-- have agreed that the investigation into the fake Bhutanese refugee scam should not be disrupted. Sharing the decision of the three-party meeting held on Wednesday, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda said that the innocent should not suffer and the guilty should not have a chance to escape. He added that the police have been doing their job as per the law. The parties have pledged that they would not interfere in the investigation process. Meanwhile, the UN High Commission for Refugees-- has welcomed the government investigation.

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