Photo: SETOPATI
Photo: SETOPATI

KATHMANDU:  Metropolitan Police Crime Division (MPCD) on Friday arrested two Bhutanese and three Indian nationals from Bhimphedi of Makawanpur District on the charge of looting 15 simala (aquamarine) beads from a seller in Bouddha.

D Dorje Lama, 38, and Tshering Lama, 32, from Phunchholing, Bhutan, and Asheet Sainbo, 31, Nahir Ali, 38, and Saroj Gurung, 30, from Silguri of India were detained by the police in connection to the looting.

Lama was the main client and other four were involved in the security of the looted beads. The gang of five had looted those beads from Upendra Lamichhane, an agent who was selling the beads that belonged to Naresh Agrawal, a businessman based in Bouddha.The beads feature fossilized coral, a stone of grounding during times of change, and commands high price in the illegal market.

Agrawal had told Lamichhane to sell 15 beads for Rs 20 million after setting up a meeting with the clients at a hotel room, said SSP Sarbendra Khanal, chief of the Crime Division. But wrongfully Lamichhane had dealt with the client Lama for Rs 160 million, according to the police.

It was investigated that Aatish Botiya from Bhutan had deployed Lama to purchase the beads and was provided with fake USD 56,700 to pay for the beads. The gang tied Lamichhane up in the hotel and fled the hotel room.

“We are investigating whether the beads have some archeological values,” SSP Khanal said adding. However, Agrawal has claimed that some of the beads were handed down to him through generations and some he collected from various sources.

Soon after a complaint was filed about the robbery, the police began tapping the phone calls of the looters and following them on the basis of call details. The accused have been sent to Metropolitan Police Range Office for further investigations and the fake US dollars to the Nepal Rastra Bank.

–  REPUBLICA

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