Recording of statements begins in fake refugee case


By A Staff Reporter,Kathmandu, May 27: Recording of statements from 16 defendants, who were arrested on the charge of being involved in the case of fake Bhutanese refugees, have begun in the Kathmandu District Court.

Defendants Keshav Dulal and Sagar Rai gave their statements at the bench of Judge Prem Prasad Neupane on Friday. According to Deepak Dahal, information officer at the Kathmandu District Court, the statements of Keshav Dulal and Sagar Rai have been taken and completed on Friday. 

Statements of other accused will be taken gradually on the next day (Sunday), said Dahal. It has been found that Dulal, who was arrested in a fraud case in which Nepali citizens were taken as fake Bhutanese refugees to America, was the main middleman in the fraud case. Rai, who is also a former ward chairman, was also arrested after it was revealed that he was also a middleman in the fraud case.

In the case, the District Government Attorney Office registered a case against 30 individuals, including former Deputy Prime Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi of CPN-UML, former Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand of Nepali Congress, among others. 

Thirteen more accused are absconding while one Laxmi Maharjan has been arrested on Friday. A case has also been registered in the court against the absconding accused.

Once the statements of the defendants’ end, the court will begin the hearing. The court will then decide whether the defendants will be released on bail or sent to prison after the hearing.

The cases of fraud, forgery, crime against the state and organised crime were filed by the Kathmandu District Attorney, Kathmandu on Wednesday. More than 145 victims were defrauded by making fake Bhutanese refugees and sending them to America in which Rs. 284 million was cheated. 

One more held on Friday 

Meanwhile, the police have arrested Laxmi Maharjan, one of the fugitives allegedly involved in the fake Bhutanese refugee scam, after the second phase of the investigation into the case began.

After receiving the letter from the District Government Attorney Office, Kathmandu, the police began the second phase of investigation from Friday, Superintendent of Police and Spokesperson for the Kathmandu Police Range, Sitaram Rijal, said. 

On Friday, the police caught Maharjan among the 14 absconding persons.

In the charge sheet registered in District Court Kathmandu, the names of 14 individuals, including Prateek Thapa, son of a former Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa 'Badal', are on the fugitive list.  In the case, 16 individuals have been arrested and their statements have begun from Friday at the District Court, Kathmandu. 

It seems that the police are preparing to investigate the then Home Minister Badal, the then Home Secretary Prem Rai and others who were named in the first phase of the investigation but could not be fully investigated due to the 60-day time limit of the investigation.

30 defendants 

Keshav Prasad Dulal, Sanu Bhandari, Sagar Rai, Sandesh Sharma, Tanka Kumar Gurung, Indrajit Rai, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Sandeep Rayamajhi, Tek Narayan Pandey, Narendra KC, Govinda Kumar Chaudhary, Ramsharan KC, Bal Krishna Khand, Angtawa Sherpa, Shamsher Miya, Tek Nath Rizal, Keshav Tuladhar, Laxmi Maharjan, Hari Bhakta Maharjan, Ashok Pokharel, Dhiren Rai, Deepa Humagain, Niraj Rai, Rajesh Aryal, Mohan Raj Rai, Ashish Budhathoki, Binita Sawden Limbu, Niranj Kumar Kharel, Sunil Budhathoki, and Prateek Thapa are the defendants.

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