Nagaland Home Minister Imkong Imchen was detained at Kathmandu airport on Wednesday, minutes before he was to board a New Delhi-bound flight. He was later released.
According to a communiqué from the office of Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Imchen was detained for carrying Indian currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination. These high-value notes are banned in Nepal.
“He was on a private visit to Nepal with his wife and children. He was unaware of the ban on Indian currency notes of Rs 500 and above,” the communiqué said, adding Imchen reached New Delhi later in the day.
The minister’s wife and children were allowed to leave in the flight he was scheduled to take in the morning.
The CMO office did not specify how much Imchen was carrying, but unconfirmed reports said he had Rs 9 lakh in cash when he landed in Kathmandu on Sunday. He was scheduled to attend a wedding there.
Officials declined to say how Imchen landed in Kathmandu with all the cash and why he was detained on his way out of Nepal.
Rio’s press secretary Abu Metha said the Nagaland government had sought Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram soon after “we learnt about the detention”. He also said many Indians a similar problem owing to ignorance of the ban on high-value Indian currency notes.
Imchen is next to Rio in Nagaland’s politics besides being the cog of the regional Nagaland People’s Front, which heads the ruling alliance there.