Four Bhutanese citizens have been detained in Kathmandu the capital of Nepal after they were caught by custom officials for carrying banned Rs 1,000 denominations coming to Rs 98,000 and also 3,000 USD.
In Nepal, like in Bhutan the carrying of Rs 1,000 note denominations is forbidden and people entering the country have to declare the amount of foreign currency they have.
To make matters worse the Bhutanese citizens who had travelled to Nepal by road from India also did not have any visa or passports.
The four men were detained in an area close to Kathmandu.
The men got in touch with the Bhutanese SAARC Director, Singye Dorji, who is based in the SAARC Secretariat in Nepal.
Talking to The Bhutanese Singye Dorji said, “It seems the four men were caught with banned rupee denominations and also did not have any travel documents.”
Singye Dorji said that he had gone to see their condition as a Bhutanese national but he would also be filing a complete report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thimphu.
The men had initially been held for the currency violation but later it was discovered that they also did not have any travel documents.
According to Singye Dorji the men were liable for prosecution by the Customs for the currency issue and then the Immigration department for travelling without a passport.
The Bhutanese talked to a prominent Kathmandu legal advocate Rabin K. C. of Corporate Law Associates Private Limited on the legal implications for the detained Bhutanese citizens.
Rabin K.C said that the men would be prosecuted in court for the currency violations until which time they would be held in legal detention in the police station.
“The law in Nepal is that the amount seized from the men will be confiscated and the bail for them will also be equivalent to the amount seized from them. If they cannot pay the bail then they will get a prison sentence equivalent to the amount seized at Nepal Rupee 25 per day,” said Rabin K.C
The advocate also said that with regard to the passport and visa violation case the Immigration department would not prosecute them but would deport them to their country of origin. However, he said that for the men to be deported back to Bhutan they would have to show documentary proof that they are from Bhutan.
When this paper contacted the foreign secretary he declined to comment on the issue and asked the paper to get in touch with the MoFA spokesperson who was on leave.