The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter has expressed shock over the imprisonment of three Indian tourists for possessing Indian 500 rupee notes.
The tourists from Goa were arrested at Thankot for possessing IRs 71,000 in 500-rupee bills. The Kathmandu District Court ordered their imprisonment. Since the new fiscal year beginning 16 July, it has been illegal to use IRs 500 bills in Nepal. This came some years after the Reserve Bank of India began refusing 500-rupee notes from Nepal, believing the bills are used for money laundering and for financing illegal activities in India through Nepal.
PATA says the three students should be sent home because both tourist organisations and the government have not made adequate efforts to inform Indian tourists about the new law. It adds that it is dismayed over government inaction to mitigate this harsh decision of the Kathmandu District Court. Meantime, the Supreme Court has issued a show-cause notice on a petition filed
to question the new government rule. The petitioner argues that it goes against the Foreign Exchange Act that allows the use of Indian currency, which, he argues, also include the Rs 500 bills.