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Imchen in cashgate, released after detention in Nepal for carrying cash
Published on 1 Jul. 2010 12:43 AM IST
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Nagaland Home Minister Imkong Imchen was briefly detained by the Nepalese police at the airport here Wednesday for flouting a currency ban, in an embarrassment for India.
Imchen, on a private visit here with his family was found carrying Rs 900,000 in cash with him, with most of the notes of 1000 and 500 denomination, which are banned, police said.
Possession of high denomination currency notes is a penal offence in Nepal and the offenders can face jail terms up to five years or hefty fines. The minister told the police that he was not aware of the ban.
Imchen was detained for questioning when he arrived at the airport at 0900 hours to catch a flight to Delhi after attending a marriage function in Kathmandu, Indian embassy sources said.
The sources said it was normal procedure to question people carrying big denomination notes as these are banned in Nepal. It was only after his questioning that he revealed his identity.
Nagaland chief secretary Lalthara said the minister was on a holiday with his family. Lalthara confirmed that the minister was carrying Indian currency worth Rs 9 lakh, reported ANI.
“Basically, because of his ignorance, he was carrying such a large consignment of cash,” said Lalthara.
“He should have carried his credit card instead of so much cash,” he added. Lalthara confirmed that he had spoken to Union Home Secretary G.K Pillai on the matter.
Imchen arrives Delhi
A statement from Nagaland chief minister’s secretariat said Imchen reached New Delhi on Wednesday at 5:30 pm at the intervention of the government of India and the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.
Abu Metha, press secretary to chief minister clarified that the state home minister, Imchen was not arrested as reported in sections of the national press but only held up to clarify his position. It was also clarified that the home minister was carrying only Rs. 2 lakh in Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 denominations. The statement said the amount was also acknowledged by the authorities in Nepal on record. It was stated that the home minister was on a private visit to Nepal along with his wife and family members where he was held up. Imchen was unaware of the rule and faced with the inconvenience, it added.
Nagaland Post adds: Meanwhile, Imchen talking to Nagaland Post over phone from New Delhi that it was his first ever trip abroad but rued the events. He also said cash seized by Nepalese custom officials on Wednesday morning was Rs.2 lakh and not as reported. He said the seizure memo for two bundles (of Rs.500 notes) and one bundle (of Rs.1000 note) was shown to media persons in Delhi on arrival at Nagaland House.
CEO to sue TV channels
DIMAPUR, JUN 30 (NPN): CEO of Konikkara Industries BSNL Franchisee Mokokchung, Imkong Imchen has said he would take legal redressal from the court of law in connection with TV news channels purportedly showing his picture as the home minister of Nagaland who was detained at Nepal airport on Wednesday for reportedly carrying Indian money in cash.
Imchen in a statement said that TV news channels such as TimesNow, CNN-IBN and others repeatedly flashed his picture encircling in red from morning till afternoon hours of Wednesday purportedly showing him as the state home minister.
The CEO said he has necessary documents to prove that one of the pictures shown by the channels was him. He claimed that the same photo used by the channels had earlier appeared in local dailies. “Since I have been defamed publicly and internationally by the channels as someone who went against the law in Nepal while I was in Nagaland during the same time, I will seek legal redressal from the court of law for the damage done to my public image,” Imchen added.

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