The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) issued a red corner notice on Friday against Dhorpatan Mayor Dev Kumar Nepali, who also serves as the chair of Image Saving and Credit Co-operative, and his wife Chhela Nepali. The couple is accused of embezzling almost Rs2 billion from depositors and banks.
The red corner notice, issued by Nepal Police Headquarters through Interpol, signifies that police forces in 192 member countries will actively seek the whereabouts and apprehension of the accused. An arrest warrant had previously been issued on June 7 of the preceding year.
The cooperative, chaired by Nepali, claimed a ‘liquidity crisis’ and announced its closure on April 21, 2023. Since then, the accused couple has been evading law enforcement. Depositors had alleged that the duo was residing in a foreign country, prompting Deputy Superintendent of Police Madan KC to push for the red corner notice issuance.
A staggering 1,150 police complaints have been lodged against the accused, who are believed to have embezzled Rs1.6 billion from depositors. Furthermore, Dev Kumar Nepali reportedly secured loans amounting to Rs350 million from Global IME Bank, National Cooperative Bank, and Garima Bikas Bank.
Government attorneys responded to the numerous complaints by filing a case of organized fraud against Nepali at the district court. The Baglung District Court, on July 21, 2023, sent five individuals – Chitra Bahadur Bhandari, Naramati Budha, Shakti Kisan, Dor Bahadur Pariyar, and Anita Budhamagar – to judicial custody in connection with the case. All arrestees have denied their involvement, as per statements recorded by the police.
In a recent development, the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) apprehended 27-year-old Laxmi Sen Sunar, the treasurer of the cooperative, on Thursday in Dhobighat, Lalitpur. Superintendent of Police Navaraj Adhikari, who also serves as the spokesperson for CIB, stated that Sunar has been transferred to the Baglung District Police Office for further investigation.
As the Interpol red corner notice takes effect, authorities worldwide will collaborate in the pursuit of Mayor Dev Kumar Nepali and his wife, intensifying efforts to bring them to justice for the alleged embezzlement that has impacted numerous depositors and financial institutions.