SC hears opening statement in Trongsa Lands case
The Supreme Court (SC) held an opening hearing of the declaration of the Trongsa land case on the afternoon of December 28.
Former Trongsa Dzongda Lhab Dorji, his wife Karma Tshetim Dolma, former Drakteng Gup Tenzin, Former land surveyor Narayan Dangal, who was involved in the case, appealed to the SC after the High Court (HC) upheld the verdict of the Trongsa dzongkhag court.
Lhab Dorji was sentenced to five years in prison for forgery, official misconduct and executing the document by deception. Karma Tshetim Dolma and Drakteng Gup Tenzin were each sentenced to six years in prison for fabricating deeds of sale, submitting false reports to courts for land transfer and deceptive practices.
The defendants have been sentenced to a non-cumulative sentence, where they will not be allowed to pay thrimthue in lieu of jail time.
A former drangpon, Ugyen Tenzin, the former gup of Nubi Phuntsho and the former land surveyor Narayan Dangal were also sentenced to 18 months in prison each, but they could pay the third time.
Gup Phuntsho was sentenced for forgery and Narayan Dangal for complicity and official misconduct. Ugyen Tenzin was convicted of forgery.
The opening of the declaration was presided over by three judges. Only two appellants, lawyers for Lhab Dorji and Karma Tshetrim Dolma, were able to present their arguments. Lhab Dorji also made his own observation when supplementing his lawyer.
The total submission took two and a half hours, after which the court adjourned at the end of the day. The hearing of the other appellants will be held on January 5 at 2 p.m.
Thram number 514
Counsel for the appellant argued that his client, Karma Tshetim Dolma (KTD) was never aware that the 4.56 acres of land had been acquired by the government of the two sisters of the Drakteng gewog in Trongsa and registered under a mysterious thram n ° 514 from the Ministry of Education. .
KTD bought the land from the two sisters.
He argued that the 2.77 acres of land she purchased was never acquired for the Institute for Language and Culture Studies (ILCS) from Sonam Choden and Yangchen’s thram # 180 and 181, but only later from appellant Karma Tshetrim Dolma thram # 555 after the transaction.
Counsel argued that thram # 514 was fictitiously created by drangpoen Ugyen Tenzin using his connection with then co-director Ugyen Tackchu of NLCS to simply project as if the eight plots formed under the thram no 514 had been acquired for the Department of Education in order to obtain the Royal Kasho for land substitute for Gelephu.
“Having no land acquisition process conducted by the land acquisition committee of dzongkhag, Drangpon Ugyen Tenzin had submitted to the NLCS a request to remove certain plots of former thram n ° 180 and 181 of Sonam Choden and Yangchen, ”the lawyer said.
A person named Naten, who was actually engaged in the creation of this fictional thram proved to be fictitious in his statement to the ACC. “In his statement, he claimed to have created this thram under the name Sherig Laykhung (education department) following the verbal directive of co-director Ugyen Takchu without any supporting documents,” said the lawyer.
He argued that only DSLR drangpon Ugyen Tenzin, Ugyen Tackchu and Neten knew of the existence of fictional thram 514. “Even the Sherig Laykhung, the gewog or the Trongsa dzongkhag did not know. It was supposed to be destroyed later to erase all traces of their misdeeds, ”he submitted.
The lawyer argued that except for the letter from drangpon Ugyen Tenzin to the NLCS, regarding the creation of thram No. 514, there was never any other legal documents or any other acquisition process. of land.
The attorney argued that Thram # 514 is registered with Kunzang Dolma, not Sherig Laykhung as the ACC claims.
“Thus, in this case, the appellant is an innocent purchaser of real land which has not at all been acquired by the government. It makes no sense for the appellant to knowingly buy a piece of land in difficulty by risking its money, ”argued the lawyer.
The lawyer said there was no reason for ACC to accuse its client of forging the deed of sale for the land when thram 514 itself was fictitious.
“My client, KTD, who did not commit any crime, was sentenced to six years in prison and the main person who actually created the real uproar got away without an aggravating prison sentence,” the lawyer said. “It’s the ACC that’s corrupted, not my client.”
The lawyer argued that the Trongsa dzongkag court gave the ACC the opportunity to present the details of the case to the court, but not its clients. “We should have had the same opportunity to present our sides,” he submitted.
The court also gave ACC a repeated opportunity to submit evidence until it was sufficient to punish my clients. “The ACC has had the opportunity to present evidence on three occasions,” he argued.
The lawyer argued that if he was the presiding judge, he could have simply dismissed the case when there was insufficient evidence instead of asking the ACC to resubmit evidence on multiple occasions.
“The court did not allow my clients to present their witnesses in court,” he said.
He claimed that one of the landowners accused Lhab Dorji of paying him the money for land at the Shambala Hotel in the presence of the hotel owner. “We asked the court to call the owner of the Shambala hotel in court as a witness, but the court refused. “It was unfair.”
According to the lawyer, former dzongdag Lhab Dorji had already been transferred to Mongar at that time and his travel evidence showed that he was in Yongkola in Mongar on the day he was accused of paying the fee. money at the Shambala hotel in Trongsa.
The appellants asked the SC to reconsider the case because the courts of HC and dzongkhag ignored many facts to convict them.
The next hearing will take place on January 5.