Rinzin Wangchuk

The Paro dzongkhag court yesterday issued a conditional bail warrant to the 49 men who were re-arrested and detained in connection with the ongoing court proceedings for smuggling gold from the northern border.

A court official said that the accused were released from police custody with a bail condition that they report to the police twice a day. He said that such restriction was imposed to ensure that the men, mostly from Tsento gewog, do not travel outside the country and reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Some of them were repeat offenders and were found trespassing the northern border while on bail.  They were granted bail by the High Court last year. However, they were reportedly re-arrested on April 29 after the police requested the court to revoke their bail as some accused might travel to the high-risk areas, especially at the northern border.

The 49 accused are among 59 people who are being prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General before the Paro court in connection with the illegal possession and smuggling of 201.66kg gold in different cases.

The evidence hearings for the 10 men, who were charged by OAG on June 13 last year for smuggling in 52kg of gold biscuits amounting to Nu 151.664 million from northern border are completed.

The hearings for other six men, who were charged for smuggling in 31kg gold, 10 for smuggling 28kg, two for 20kg gold, eight for 10kg gold, and five for 24kg gold smuggling are going on.