OAG files 23 charges against four defendants involved in the criminal conspiracy case

Court did not grant bail to all four defendants

Office of Attorney General (OAG) called for maximum sentencing and the award of consecutive terms as the offenses committed by the defendants are highly sensitive, egregiously grievous, most serious in nature and extremely detrimental to the very core of national security, peace and sovereignty of the country.

Khandu Wangmo was charged the highest with 11 charges among the four defendants (including 4 counts). She was charged for abettor of mutiny, criminal misappropriation of property, larceny by deception, illegal possession of firearms, impersonation of uniformed personnel, obstruction of unlawful authorities and harassment and four counts under solicitation of official misconduct coming to a total of 11 charges.

OAG charged RBG’s former commandant Brigadier Thinley Tobgay had the second highest with 7 charges (including 4 counts) with mutiny, criminal misappropriate of property, two counts under aiding and abetting, two counts under official misconduct and harassment.

Justice Kuenley Tshering of the Supreme Court was charged with three charges, abettor of mutiny, commission amounting to abuse of functions and obstruction of lawful authorities while there were two charges against the defendant Judge Yeshi Dorji, which is abettor of mutiny and larceny by deception.

The defendant Khandu Wangmo, in collusion with Justice Kuenlay Tshering and Drangpon Yeshi Dorji had abetted Thinley Tobgay in the mutiny to overthrow the Army Chief of the Royal Bhutan Army for which she is liable for the offence of abettor mutiny.

She is liable for criminal misappropriation of Property as she, in collusion with Thinley Tobgay unlawfully misappropriated Nu. 6.5 mn from the RBG fund.

The defendant also in collusion with Drangpon Yeshi Dorji, has deceptively availed loan of Nu. 8 mn from RICBL on the pretext of starting businesses for which, she is charged for larceny by deception.

Having been involved in this, defendant judge Yeshi Dorji is liable for the same offence, larceny by deception.

Moreover, Khandu Wangmo was in illegal possession of a Glock 19 pistol illegally issued by Thinley Tobgay whereby she is liable for the offence of Illegal Possession of Firearm. In the same line, the defendant was not in the armed forces but wore a Brigader rank military SD suit with full insignia issued by Thinley Tobgay. For the act, OAG have charged her for the offence of impersonation of uniformed personnel.

For the same offence, OAG has charged defendant Thinley Tobgay who committed the crime.

The defendant knowingly used unauthorized RBG vehicle and army personnel for her personal use, solicited Thinley Tobgay to illegally obtain classified confidential UN tender documents from RBA, Lungtenphu,  acquainting and on her behest was awarded substantially high marks by Justice Kuenlay Tshering in her interview for the Chevening scholarship and solicited Justice Kuenlay Tshering to unlawfully direct the judge of the Family and Child Bench of Thimphu District Court to defer the arrest warrant issued against her for the Judgement Enforcement.

Khandu Wangmo further solicited Justice Kuenlay Tshering to unlawfully obstruct the legitimate claim of USD 12,000 by Ms. Sothy Toep. For those offences, she is charged for the offence of solicitation to official misconduct.

The defendant knowingly obstructed the lawful execution of the impending arrest warrant by harboring Gup Kanjur in her house and prevented his arrest by lawful authorities for which she is liable for the offence of obstruction of lawful authorities.

In addition, she is liable for harassment as the defendant in collusion with Thinley Tobgay harassed and threatened Col. Karma Lodey Samphel, RBA her ex-boyfriend and subjected him to emotional and mental distress.

The defendant Thinley Tobgay is liable for the same offence as he harassed and threatened Col. Karma Lodey Samphel subjecting him to emotional and mental distress in collusion with Khandu Wangmo.

Defendant Thinley Tobgay who has the second highest charges is liable for mutiny as he in collusion with Justice Kuenlay Tshering, Khandu Wangmo and Drangpon Yeshi Dorji, has conspired and committed mutiny to overthrow the Army Chief of Royal Bhutan Army with his personal intent to replace the former.

The defendant is liable for second degree felony as the abettor of mutiny is graded as third-degree felony.

The defendant has unlawfully misappropriated Nu. 6.5 mn from the RBG fund and an additional Nu 500,000 recovered from Khandu Wangmo as interest for which he is liable for an offence of criminal misappropriation of the property.

The defendant Thinley Tobgay has unlawfully deputed an official RBG Prado and army personnel for personal use of Khandu Wangmo for which he is liable for the offence of official misconduct.

Meanwhile Justice Kuenlay Tshering is liable for an offence of abettor of mutiny to overthrow the Army Chief of the Royal Bhutan Army with malicious intent to replace him along with Justice Kuenlay Tshering’s ulterior motive to become the Chief Justice of Supreme Court and aid Drangpon Yeshi Dorji to be the Registrar General of the Supreme Court.

In connection to this, Judge Yeshi Dorji is also liable for same offence, abettor of mutiny. The other charge against Judge Yeshi Dorji is an offence of larceny by deception.

The defendant Justice Kuenlay Tshering was one of the members of the Chevening Scholarship panelists in his official capacity while in the payroll of the High Court Justice. He awarded substantially high marks to Khandu Wangmo with the deliberate intent to award the scholarship and granted undue favor for her to unjustly pursue studies in the UK.

He further misused his authority to illegally obstruct and prevent Ms. Sothy Toep from legally pursuing to recover USD 12,000 from Khandu Wangmo by involving Mr. Michael Rutland. In connection to this, he is charged for commission amounting to abuse of functions.

The defendant is liable for an offence of obstruction of lawful authorities as unlawfully directed the Judge of family and child bench of Thimphu District court to defer the execution of an arrest warrant against Khandu Wangmo.

Background

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

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

RBP then carried out detailed investigation. The investigation have revealed that Khandu Wangmo in collusion with Justice Kuenlay Tshering, Drangpon Yeshi Dorji and Thinley Tobgay were found to be involved into the commission of criminal conspiracy of mutiny and abettor of mutiny, and other criminal offenses over the period of 4 years, from 2015 to 2018 which were planned discreetly.

The criminal conspiracy of mutiny to overthrow the Chief Operation Officer of the RBA and other criminal acts in collusion with Thinley Tobgay, Justice Kuenlay Tshering, and Drangpon Yeshi Dorji were established through their voluntary confessional written statements to the RBP corroborated by the collation of documentary and electronic evidence forwarded to the OAG.

The criminal conspiracy and the intent to achieve personal gratification of replacing the Army Chief, Supreme Court Chief Justice and Registrar General were evident corroborated by numerous incriminating evidences, detailed records of discrete meetings, well-planned and final lodging of unsubstantiated written allegation against the Chief of Army.

OAG asked that the defendant Thinley Tobgay be ordered to restitute Nu 500,000 to the state in accordance with section 46 of the Penal Code of Bhutan (PCB) 2004.

They asked the court to pronounce any orders that may deem, appropriate and necessary in the interest of justice.

Defendants will give their rebuttal on 17 March 2020.

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