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Honesty versus Nepal lawmakers

What would you do if you find an unclaimed bag containing NRs 9.1 million (nearly Rs 57 lakh) and a diamond necklace? Utpal Parashar reports.

world Updated: Apr 24, 2011 23:07 IST
Utpal Parashar

What would you do if you find an unclaimed bag containing NRs 9.1 million (nearly Rs 57 lakh) and a diamond necklace? A tough question—but if you are Anuja Baniya (22) from Bhojpur in eastern Nepal—the answer is simple. You return the bag and its contents to its owner.

Earlier this month, Anuja found the bag while travelling in a bus in Dharan. Having failed to locate the owner, she took it home. Inside the bag she found the amount and details of its owner—a resident of Kathmandu.

Purushottam Poudel was on his way to give the amount to his daughter to purchase a house when he forgot the bag. Surprisingly, he didn’t inform the police about the loss and returned home quietly. When Anuja handed the bag to him three days later, Poudel offered a reward of NRs 200,000 or the diamond necklace. But the girl refused both terming her deed a normal gesture.

The story made national headlines last week and Anuja became a celebrity. President Ram Baran Yadav called to congratulate her—a first such act by Nepal’s first President.

But things soon took a different turn with no information yet of Poudel’s whereabouts or his version of events. The money transfer company from where he withdrew the amount said no such sum was withdrawn around the date when Anuja found the bag.

Now the President’s office has asked district authorities to verify details of the incident. While Anuja was basking in the limelight, two lawmakers were also getting their share of fame, albeit for negative reasons.

Gayatri Shah of Nepali Janata Dal and BP Yadav of Madeshi Janadhikar Forum were arrested for their alleged involvement in human trafficking by allowing misuse of their red passports.

The scam came to light in January when two persons on way Australia were sent back from Abu Dhabi after they were found carrying tampered passports belonging to the lawmakers. Both lawmakers are alleged to have sold their passports for huge sums.