"After police investigation found that the truck carried a cargo of betel nuts and not Dabur products, police immediately apprehended the driver and the three Indians travelling in the vehicle."
Kathmandu, May 17 - Nepal police Saturday arrested an Indian national with foreign currency worth around $80,000 and travellers cheques from the outskirts of Kathmandu.
Sanjay Mishra, 55, from Vrindavan in India's Uttar Pradesh state, was arrested with travellers cheques worth $2,300, and $72,000 in cash besides 50,000 Chinese yuan ($8,020), according to the police.
Bhaktapur police arrested Mishra following a tip-off that he was heading to Mansarovar in Tibet in a private car.
Kiran Rana, deputy superintendent of police in Bhaktapur district, said Mishra, who is a follower of Radhe Radhe, a sect led by Kripaluji Maharaj, claimed that all the money belongs to him.
He was arrested at 9.30 a.m. in a vehicle (Ba 8 Cha 4289) owned by Samrat Travels and Tours.
The travel company said a total of 157 pilgrims had arrived in Nepal to visit Mansarovar, said DSP Rana adding that in Nepal carrying more than $5,000 in cash is illegal.
She said Mishra has been sent to Hanumandhoka where the money would be handed over to the Department of Revenue Investigation for further probe.
He will be handed over to the anti-money laundering unit of Nepal government Sunday for further investigation. Police sources told IANS that the confiscated foreign currencies may not belong to Mishra.
He might be working as courier for someone else indulging in illegal cross-border business, the sources said.
Meanwhile, three Indian nationals were also arrested from Nepal-India border in Birgunj with 17 quintals of betel nuts Saturday on charges of smuggling.
A team of Nepal Police found an Indian truck loaded with the betel nuts at the Shankaracharya Gate, 50 metres away from the border.
There has been a sharp rise of betel nuts smuggling through various Nepal-India entry points in recent times.
According to The Himalayan Times, the truck had cleared the customs, and was heading towards the Indian side. It is suspected that there is a syndicate of betel nut smugglers in border areas who operate in connivance with customs officials.
According to the paper, the arrested truck driver told police that the vehicle was loaded with Dabur Nepal products that were being exported to India.
After police investigation found that the truck carried a cargo of betel nuts and not Dabur products, police immediately apprehended the driver and the three Indians travelling in the vehicle.
As there is a high demand for betel nuts in India for production of pan masala, gutkha and other tobacco-related products, local traders import betel nuts from third countries to Nepal and smuggle these to India, claimed the newspaper.