Supreme Court convicts two for encroachment of govt land in Debsi

The Supreme Court concurrently convicted Gup Kanjur and Karma Jamtsho for two years and one year respectively on 8 December 2021 in connection to a fraudulent registration and encroachment of government land in Debsi under Chang Gewog, Thimphu.

In addition, the court ordered Gup Kanjur to give land replacement or if not, the cash compensation inclusive of interest within two months from the date of judgment to the 18 buyers as compensation.

The court further ordered Gup Kanjur to restitute the sold plot of lands belonging to 18 individuals to the State within two months from the date of Judgment. Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had received a walk-in complaint on 2 April 2014 alleging that Karma Jamtsho, a former Thimphu Dzongkhag Land Record Officer had illegally registered 2.82 Acres of Tsamdro(pastureland) belonging to Depsi community into several private Thrams and then profited by selling it to many individuals.

The commission felt the merit to take the case to the logical conclusion wherein since September 2016, the ACC started investigating these allegations particularly the two plots registered under Thram number 21 in the name of Kanjur’s mother Mrs. Tenzin.  As per the ACC, they found out that there are two plots named Chakazhing and Dzomdrakchotenjab measuring 90 decimals and 2.82 acres respectively belonging to Mrs. Tenzin. Currently, these two plots have been fragmented and sold to 18 individuals.

“The investigation determined that sometime between 2000 and 2005, Mr.Kanjur, Chang Gup had fraudulently registered the above two plots namely Chakazhing and Dzomdrakchotenjab on Depsi community Tsamdro in the name of his mother Mrs. Tenzin,” states ACC.

In addition, ACC shared that the chain of evidence proved that the plot Dzomdrakchotenjab was actually located in Punakha and already declared as Punakha land during Thed-Thimphu separation in mid 1980s. Survey record proved that the land owner was unable to locate this plot during 1988 Detail Survey.

Although, Mrs. Tenzin had a plot called Chakazhing in her old Chazhag Thram, the actual location was found to be near Babesa and not at Debsi where Gup Kanjur had claimed and measured. The investigation also determined that Gup Kanjur altered the map and Kapa Thram and arranged falsified community clearance, ACC further added.

Moreover, it was also found that former Chang Gup Naku, in his capacity as Gup, knowingly assisted Gup Kanjur in the illegal registration after receiving complimentary 50 decimal plot from the same area.  Karma Jamtsho, who was the LRO in Thimphu Dzongkhag Administration, also knowingly helped Gup Kanjur in processing the illegal registration.

The case was referred to the Office of the Attorney General on 30 December 2016 and formal charges filed before the Thimphu District Court on 3 October 2017.  

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