Lawyers of complainants demand top leaders be investigated in fake Bhutanese refugees scam

Lawyers of complainants in the fake Bhutanese refugees scam have sought court’s order to investigate top leaders who have been accused in the case.

Three public prosecutors and six lawyers of complainants completed oral arguments in the case in the Kathmandu District Court on Tuesday

Citing the example of the Kathmandu District Court instructing investigation against another person after the accused of a fraud case accused the person, advocate Hari Prasad Kharel demanded that the court should similarly order for investigation of top leaders in the fake Bhutanese refugees scam.

“Defendants Sanu Bhandari, Keshav Dulal, Tek Nath Rizal and others in this episode have also taken name of persons to whom they handed over money. Everyone including Ajay Kranti Shakya, Arzu Rana Deuba, Manju Khand, Bechen Jha, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, KP Sharma Oli, Prem Kumar Rai and others have been accused,” he pointed. “Tek Nath Rizal seems to have revealed the leaders he met. Top Bahadur Rayamajhi apparently arranged his meeting with former prime ministers Oli and Dahal at their residences. The court must issue order for investigation against even them.”

He stressed that the defendants had repeatedly accused the top leaders. “This case is of a kind that can harm national dignity. The court can issue order for investigation against them if it is convinced.”

The public prosecutors, meanwhile, demanded that the accused be sent to judicial custody while hearing the case pointing that the defendants can destroy evidence and the complainants can face security risks if the defendants were not in custody.

Bail hearing in the case started on Sunday and public prosecutors and lawyers of complainants have completed making their arguments by Tuesday.

Lawyers of the defendants will now get to make their arguments.

The District Government Attorney’s Office (DGAO), Kathmandu, has filed five cases against 30 defendants including former deputy prime minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, former home minister Bal Krishna Khand, former home secretary Tek Narayan Pandey and exiled Bhutanese refugee leader Tek Nath Rizal in the fake Bhutanese refugees scam.

The DGAO has filed cases of fraud, forgery, offense against the state, organized crime and integrated offense against them on the basis of the report submitted by police.

Police had investigated the accused for offense against the state, fraud and organized crime.

Police had produced 16 people arrested in the scam along with their investigation report. They had named 14 others as absconding defendants in the case. Laxmi Maharjan, 32, of Lalitpur was arrested after that and produced before the court while her husband Hari Bhakta appeared in court on Thursday.

Keshav Dulal, Sanu Bhandari, Tanka Kumar Gurung, Sandesh Gurung, Sagar Rai, Tek Narayan Pandey, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and his son Sandeep, Indrajit Rai, Bal Krishna Khand and his personal secretary Narendra KC, Ang Tawa Sherpa, Ram Sharan KC, Govinda Chaudhary, Shamsher Miya, Tek Nath Rizal, Laxmi Maharjan and Hari Bhakta Maharjan have been arrested in connection with the scam so far.

Arrest warrants were also issued for former home minister Ram Bahadur Thapa’s son Prateek, Indrajit Rai’s son Niraj and others, but they are still absconding.

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