The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charge sheeted the Namgay Dolkar (24) case to the Thimphu District court on 1st December Friday charging the accused Sonam, a 38-year-old businessman, with murder.
The RBP had forwarded the case to the OAG in mid-September 2023 recommending the murder charge.
While the OAG prosecution team was convinced it was a murder case there was some debate within the larger OAG on if it could also be a voluntary man slaughter case which is killing someone without pre-mediated malice and carries less sentencing.
To be sure the prosecution team did a lot of work with the police and defendant visiting the various sites including the murder site which is near the Khariphu bridge in South Thimphu.
The prosecution team tried to authenticate the defendant’s story.
The team also went through the post mortem report and met the forensic doctor. The team wanted to know what Namgay had cuts inside her mouth and the forensic doctor explained that it happens when someone is trying to smother a person.
After looking at all the evidence the OAG is convinced that what happened is murder with pre-meditated malice.
The murder charge is a felony of the first degree with the minimum being 15 years and the maximum being life imprisonment.
Namgay Dolkar’s father Singye Wangchuk has been regularly following up on his daughter’s case with the OAG and this paper.
Singye said, “It was clear from the beginning that this is a murder case. If it was not murder then why did he lie in the beginning say he never met her and then change his story multiple times. He should be convicted for murder and get life imprisonment.”
The father further said, “I still cannot believe my daughter is gone and I am almost going mad with the grief. Both my wife and I are having a very tough time. We do not have any influence or powerful backing but we are hopeful that justice will be done.”
The last that Singye saw of his daughter was around the evening at 5:30 pm on Sunday the 13 August, 2023 when she left her house above the NPPF colony to go outside.
Singye was worried when his daughter did not come back home at night.
He stayed up the whole night calling her phone, but each time it said her phone is not reachable.
He filed a missing person’s complaint with the police the next day on 14th August 2023 and went looking for her. The police based on Namgay’s call record found the last few calls were made to Sonam’s number.
When Sonam was questioned by the police, he had initially said that Namgay Dolkar had wanted to meet him on Sunday, and so he booked a hotel room at Hotel Football, but she did not turn up and so he cancelled the booking.
He confessed to the police that he was already married with children, and that he had told her there would be problems at home but she did not listen. He claimed that she ‘tortured him.’
He said on the evening of Sunday evening he went to Pamtsho to see his wife’s sick mother, and then he went back home to Changzamtog.
When the police confronted him with CCTV evidence of his car moving towards her house and exiting Thimphu gate and coming back around 9 pm he said he was looking for her at their dating sites since she did not turn up.
Sonam changed his story again when Namgay’s body was found in the swollen river which had not been able to carry her body away as her body got stuck on a log.
Sonam again changed his story saying he met Namgay Dolkar at a road intersection to Postcard Dewa Hotel just around 500 meters before Khasadrapchu, and from there they went on a drive to Khariphu, where they drove below the road towards the bridge and parked at a parking area just before the Khariphu bridge.
Sonam claimed to the police that there Namgay tried to strangle herself with the car seat belt, and he tried to stop her and in the process also squeezed her neck in anger. He said she then came out of the car and jumped into the river.
Sonam neither attempted to rescue her nor did he call anybody for help. Instead he drove back to Thimphu. He said he kept quiet as he thought he would get in trouble.
Sonam’s suicide story about Namgay was disproved by the post mortem report which showed her death due to strong pressure on the neck along with strong pressure over her mouth and that her death happened before her body even hit the water.
She had multiple bruises on her neck, jaw, upper chest, shoulder, left hand, left thigh and inner thigh, signs of smothering, and strangulation marks all showing a violent and forced death.
Testimonies from the family and friends, given to this paper, do not show Namgay to be suicidal in nature and in fact she had planned a trip with a female friend to Nepal in September and she also had plans to go to Australia.