Khandu Wangmo to serve 30 years for criminal conspiracy and sedition

The Supreme Court (SC) upholding the High Court’s judgment on criminal conspiracy case has convicted Khandu Wangmo to 9 years in prison on 21 March 2022. In addition, the Supreme Court had convicted her to 21 years for her involvement in sedition case on 11 January 2022 making it 30 years in prison.

Khandu Wangmo appealed to SC on 3 January 2022 for criminal conspiracy case while the other three defendants involved in the same case did not make an appeal. Though Khandu Wangmo was convicted for 21 years (5 years for abettor of mutiny, 5 years for larceny by deception, 5 years for criminal misappropriation of property, 3 years for illegal possession of firearms, 3 years for impersonation of uniformed personnel) by the District Court, the court gave her a concurrent sentence of 9 years.

As per the judgment, though she is also convicted to 18 months for misuse of RBG duty car and personnel, illegally obtaining UN tender documents and harassment, but she can pay Thrim-Thue in lieu of imprisonment. However, she will have to serve the term failing to pay the Thrim-Thue.

The criminal conspiracy case came into the limelight in 2020 after the then Drangpon Yeshey Dorji filed a Crime Information Report (CIR) of impersonation of uniformed personnel and deceptive practice against Khandu Wangmo and former Brigadier Thinley Tobgay on 9 July 2020 to the crime branch of RBP.

In addition, Colonel Karma Lodey Samphel of the RBA had also lodged a written complaint to RBP on 20 October 2020 against Khandu Wangmo and Thinley Tobgay for harassing him for a period of seven months from April 2016 to October 2016.

The Thimphu District Court then convicted the four defendants, Khandu Wangmo, former RBG Commandant Brigadier Thinley Tobgay, former Supreme Court Justice Kuenlay Tshering and former Drangpon Yeshey Dorji to a prison term ranging from 5 years to 10 years on 23 July 2021. Defendant Khandu Wangmo was charged the highest with 11 charges. 

The three defendants (excluding former RBG Commandant Brigadier Thinley Tobgay) appealed to High Court in August 2021, whereby the HC dismissed their appeal in November 2021.

The judgment from Thimphu District Court on the Criminal Conspiracy case remain unchanged until the Supreme Court.

Khandu Wangmo had also been charged on three counts of sedition. She drafted three seditious letters and distributed them to frame her ex-husband former Drangpon Yeshey Dorji and his family whereby the Supreme Court has convicted Khandu Wangmo, to 21 years in connection to a sedition case on 11 January 2022. 

The District court initially only gave a concurrent term of 5 years but this was increased to 21 years in the High Court. It was learnt that Khandu Wangmo cannot appeal any further as Supreme Court is the last court anyone can appeal to.

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