Though there are several ongoing court cases and even some court verdicts pertaining to around Nu 657 mn in double and triple mortgages with banks and also cheating land buyers in Phuentsholing, Phajo Nidup finally was detained on 13 June 2022 as part of a fraudulent check writing case by the Taba community police in Thimphu.
In the first case, Phajo Nidup had given two fraudulent cheques of Nu 3.4 million (mn) and Nu 19.8 mn to a landowner in Paro from whom he bought some land.
When the landowner went to the bank with the cheques, it was not honored.
Since the transaction happened in Taba where Phajo Nidup’s earlier office was, the case was registered and investigated there.
The police forwarded the case to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) who has charge sheeted the case to court.
The victim in this case, a Mr. Lethro from Paro said that he had first met Phajo who had come to his village looking to buy his land of 2 acres and 34 decimals in a swanky car and attendants.
Lethro then met Phajo in his office in Taba which Lethro said was even better than a minister’s office with a CEO and General Managers and staff under him
After the sale deed was done in around October 2021 Phajo gave him the above two cheques from the company but got his first cousin Chorten Dorji to sign it as cheques from Nidup Dorji Pvt Limited and asked him to cash it later.
However, the cheques were not honored time and again and Lethro kept requesting Phajo for the money. Phajo by this time had already sold the entire land in plots to others and even transferred the thram to them.
Phajo paid him only Nu 5.2 mn in two tranches of Nu 2 mn and Nu 3.2 mn.
After waiting for 7 months for his money then Lethro filed a complaint with the Taba police on 14 April 2022 after which the police did an investigation and first detained Chorten and later on 13 June detained Phajo too.
According to a source Chorten will face the main charge while Phajo will be involved under solicitation.
However, Lethro said that Chorten is just the fall guy as the real person responsible is Phajo who bought the land. He said that Phajo had set up the whole thing in such a way in which he avoids legal responsibility and the blame only falls on Chorten.
As per the police investigation the company Nidup Pvt Ltd is owned mainly by Chorten with him as the CEO.
Lethro said that Chorten is just a young guy with a salary of Nu 17,000 and during the lockdown he did not even have enough to eat. He said he asked both the RBP and OAG to hold Phajo accountable. However, the RBP and OAG have to go with the documentary evidences in front of them.
Lethro said that this is not the only case in Paro as there are other people whom Phajo has cheated and while some may have filed a complaint others have not done so far yet.
The Taba police are also investigating a second fraudulent cheque writing case of three cheque of Nu 6.8 mn with yet another land seller in Paro involving Phajo and Chorten using the same modus operandi.
The detention of Phajo and Chorten could be further extended with this second case coming in.