While the Thimphu District Court recently passed its sentence on the Criminal Conspiracy case there is still a separate sedition case going on against Khandu Wangmo with multiple counts of sedition.
It all started with an acrimonious and bitter divorce between Khandu Wangmo and Pemagatshel Drangpon Yeshey Dorji in October 2018. They had been married for 11 turbulent months.
The reason of the divorce was the fact that the Drangpon had lent Nu 8 mn to Khandu Wangmo by taking a loan via RICBL to enable her to repay RBG Brigadier Thinley Tobgay which the Drangpon was not getting back and there were also other issues in the marriage.
Things got even more bitter as Yeshey Dorji sued Khandu Wangmo in court to get the money back- a case he later won.
The beginnings of the sedition case was here when Khandu Wangmo made an elaborate plan to frame Yeshey Dorji and his family members in a sedition case by planting forged seditious documents using accomplices and even coaching a witness.
A former student
From all accounts Khandu Wangmo first got in touch with a former student of hers from Drugyel School in Paro who had just become a doctor. This lady doctor would play a key role in the entire sedition case.
Khandu Wangmo had earlier been an English teacher at the school. The student was good in school and a favorite of many teachers who treated her well, but it was Khandu Wangmo with whom she got particularly close.
At the time the student was in Drugyel Junior which is PP to 6 and she stayed with a step father and her mother outside the school.
However, the young student spent a lot of her time in Khandu Wangmo’s rented house, also near the school. This is when a close familial bond developed between the two, but they eventually lost touch as each moved on with their lives.
A source said that the doctor even referred to Khandu Wangmo as ‘Ama’ (mother’s sister) though there was no real biological relation.
In the meantime, Khandu Wangmo was having a tough time in the civil money suit for Nu 8 mn filed against her by her ex-husband the Drangpon. She wanted to delay the case as much as possible and so she wanted to get a medical certificate to excuse her from the proceedings.
It was at this time that Khandu Wangmo realized that her former student had just become a doctor, and so she contacted her via facebook and invited her to her rented home in Motithang for meals and so old ties were reinforced.
Khandu then poured some of her troubles to the doctor and said she needed a medical certificate. The doctor helped her to get a medical certificate showing some back pain.
But Khandu Wangmo was not done with the doctor.
In the meantime, the doctor met with a former lecturer of Taktse Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS) who was one of the nine lecturers who had been compulsorily retired from the institute over allegations of relations between students and lecturers and sexual harassment. The former lecturer denied these charges though his case is still in the court along with others.
The former lecturer and the doctor started dating.
Then one day in October 2019, the doctor took her boyfriend to meet with her ‘Ama’ or Khandu Wangmo for a meal.
Khandu Wangmo was well aware of the former lecturer’s legal situation. The former lecturer in the Thimphu District court said that in one of the visits, Khandu Wangmo had a copy of the entire OAG charge sheet against him and she said that she could save him if he agreed to do a task for her.
Over time when he asked her about the task, Khandu Wangmo allegedly told the former lecturer that she would give him her Toyota Rush car as a reward if he could run down and kill Drangpon Yeshey Dorji to make it look like a hit and run accident.
The former lecturer by now realized that he would be under suspicion if he said no, and so he told Khandu Wangmo he needed more time to think about it giving her some false hope that he would do the task.
Planting Seditious documents
In the meantime, unknown to the former lecturer, Khandu Wangmo was already spreading rumors and tip offs to certain intelligence people in the RBP and even to some ACC officers indicating that Yeshey Dorji and his family could be behind some seditious activities and documents.
Around the same time, she used some police constables and a BNCA officer to plant seditious documents against Yeshey Dorji and his family members.
Khandu Wangmo was familiar with the RBP as a former husband of hers is a RBP officer, though they had separated long ago and he has nothing to do with the case being posted in a distant Dzongkhag.
She used that familiarity and also gave soelras to the RBP constables to keep them close to her.
However, that was not enough as she falsely told her group that she was working on orders from a higher official to catch Yeshey Dorji and his family for some seditious activities. In reality, there was no such higher official or any such orders.
She convinced them that she already has a lot of evidence on them, but that it would be better if they are caught red handed with the documents planted on them.
The constables were under the impression that they were doing an important but secret task for the nation.
However, whatever their understanding, there was still some hesitancy. This is where one of the younger constables in a statement alleged that one evening Khandu Wangmo and he got intimate.
He alleged that she later called him saying that she had recorded their intimate moments through a hidden camera in the room and she would share it with his wife if he did not agree to do her task of planting the documents. She allegedly also threatened to make it go viral online after editing her face out.
In the case of the BNCA officer he was introduced to Khandu Wangmo by a junior clerk from the OAG. The junior clerk had lied and given the impression to the BNCA officer saying that Khandu Wangmo was some kind of a ‘Ashi’ who wanted to invest in pharmaceuticals in Bhutan and so needed the BNCA officer’s feedback.
When the BNCA officer went to meet Khandu Wangmo he was suitably impressed as a police constable stood on duty outside her house and saluted when she came out. It was all a ruse.
Over time, Khandu Wangmo also convinced the BNCA officer that she was working for a higher official and that he had to help her to catch Yeshey Dorji and his family by planting documents in BNCA on the table of Yeshey Dorji’s sister, who also worked as an officer at the BNCA.
The BNCA officer was also convinced that Yeshey Dorji and his sister were engaged in seditious activities and he agreed to carry out the task.
On the 16th of December 2019, the BNCA officer wearing surgical gloves planted eight copies of a seditious document signed by a fictional group called Khen-Rig Namsum on the table of the sister of Yeshey Dorji in the BNCA office.
Khen-Rig Namsum was a concocted or fictional underground organization of Khengpas complaining about Zhemgang being left out as one of the flagship tourism project Dzongkhags and not developing like other Dzongkhags and then making highly seditious comments against the Tsa-Wa-Sum.
The context of this was that in June 2019 there had been a lot of controversy in the Parliament and media about the DNT government taking the flagship tourism project from Zhemgang to Sarpang.
Khandu Wangmo used this topical issue to try and frame Yeshey Dorji as Yeshey Dorji and his whole family is from Kheng.
The date of placing the documents in BNCA had been chosen strategically as it was just a day before the 17th December 2019 National Day holiday. The aim was to frame Yeshey Dorji’s sister as one of the members of the fictional and seditious Khen-Rig Namsum group.
On 18th December 2019 Yeshey Dorji’s sister found the documents on her table and as she read the document and its seditious comments her hands trembled and she promptly reported the matter to her superior in BNCA, and together they reported it to the RBP and handed the documents over.
Around this time, the RBP constable who was allegedly blackmailed with the alleged sex video did a reconnaissance for Khandu Wangmo to ensure there are no CCTV cameras in the areas where the other documents are to be planted.
Around a week later, after the BNCA case, the blackmailed constable planted the same set of Khen-Rig Namsum documents in Yeshey Dorji’s apartment in Changjiji by pushing it from below the front door into the apartment.
On finding the documents, Yeshey Dorji also promptly reported the matter to the RBP.
A third set of seditious documents which included Khen-Rig Namsum and others seditious documents were planted in the car of the brother of Yeshey Dorji’s ex-wife in Babesa. The same constable who did the planting managed to open the car window slightly to push the documents in.
However, these third set of documents were never reported at the time as the car was not in use because the Drangpon’s ex-wife’s brother had gone abroad and so it lay there to be discovered only much later when the RBP started to crack the sedition case.
The car wash link
Then on 8th January 2020, Khandu Wangmo asked the former lecturer to take her white colour Toyota Rush for washing to a car wash. He agreed and took the car and while waiting in the car wash, as is the practice, a cleaner picked up an open laptop bag in the backseat filled with some documents and gave it to the former lecturer.
The former lecturer casually took the bag but since the documents were partly visible he saw some highly seditious documents. Curiosity got the better of him and he went through the seditious documents.
The seditious documents which were later found to be forged consisted of the seditious letter from Khen-Rig Namsum planted earlier in BNCA and Changjiji.
Another document was a purported handwritten note from Yeshey Dorji to his son again making seditious comments which was again a forgery.
The third forged document was to implicate the Chief Operations Officer Goonglen Batoo Tshering as it made reference to the numbers of the armed forces with a forged seal on it.
The former lecturer already doing his private investigation rapidly clicked pictures of the documents on his phone with the intention of giving it to authorities later.
Just at that time an upset looking Khandu Wangmo stepped into the car wash from a taxi she had reserved. She took the bag from the former lecturer saying she had left behind a bag.
With his mind racing with what he had just seen and the earlier offer he contacted an older former lecturer at ILCS and asked him what to do. The lecturer gave him the contact number of a police officer in Thimphu. The former lecturer met this officer on the evening of the 8th January but the officer had come to meet him in casual dress and was slightly inebriated and so he felt he could not trust him and only mentioned he had seen some seditious documents but he refrained from sharing the details.
He said in court that the officer took him to the office of another senior official where again he gave a hint of the information with him.
The former lecturer shared in court that coincidentally just four days after seeing the documents on 8th January 2020 in Khandu Wangmo’s bag, his bail in the ILCS case got cancelled on 13th January and he was sent to prison in Trongsa for the next 59 days.
Not realizing that the doctor had been thoroughly brainwashed by Khandu Wangmo, he handed over his phone to the lady doctor who came all the way to Trongsa from Thimphu to collect his phone. Months later when he got back his phone everything on it, including the pictures of the seditious documents, had been erased.
The lady doctor in the meantime was again brainwashed by Khandu Wangmo to cut off ties with the former lecturer.
Police surveillance and the doctor
The intelligence wing of the RBP through its own sources had already got wind that something was up from the later half of 2019 onwards and they had started some surveillance of Khandu Wangmo. However, at the time the Khen-Rig Namsum documents was not in the picture.
When the planted documents started coming in to the RBP brought by Yeshey Dorji and his sister they also did a surveillance of the so called ‘Khengpa group’ but the RBP did not find them engaging in any seditious activities and meetings.
Khandu Wangmo, who thought she had laid a good plan was expecting to see action against Yeshey Dorji and his family but when that did not come she got frustrated.
The next part of her plan was to use the doctor.
The former lecturer had written a book about his Taktse case where he had criticized the police.
Khandu Wangmo using her vast convincing powers again convinced the doctor that the former lecturer had committed an anti-national act by criticizing the police in the book and he was about to be declared an anti-national and she too would be implicated in the case as his accomplice.
Khandu Wangmo said that only she could save the doctor from being declared an anti-national as long as the doctor carried out her instructions to implicate Yeshey Dorji in the seditious documents.
Khandu Wangmo also asked the doctor to implicate the former lecturer as somebody who harasses her even from behind bars by incessant calls.
A thoroughly brainwashed, vulnerable and afraid doctor agreed and Khandu Wangmo accordingly coached her what to say to the RBP and others.
The doctor first approached a female journalist by going to her house and cooking up a story saying that she was being harassed by the former lecturer who kept calling her from prison. She asked the female journalist to call up the Police Chief and report the issue. The female journalist called up the Police Chief who did not pick up. She then dropped him a message on the issue saying the former lecturer was harassing the doctor from behind bars. The same evening the former lecturer was questioned by Trongsa police on why he made calls but they did not find any phone on him which he had already given to the doctor.
The doctor wanted the journalist to write against the former lecturer on Facebook but the journalist did not do so.
The doctor then approached the RBP saying that a stranger had come to the JDWNRH OPD and left his phone behind. She told the RBP that when she picked up the phone she saw some of the seditious documents (Khen-Rig Namsum) on it. She then told the RBP that a person had called her on the same phone asking if she had gone through the phone or not and later came up to pick the phone.
She then weaved in another story saying that she saw the same person near Hong Kong market and somebody there called him a Dasho.
She also added a third story saying that she was taking a lift in a car but the same person handed over a file to the driver and she saw the seditious documents being put in the car.
This was supposed to be the Maruti car in Babesa where the documents had already been planted.
The main aim of her whole story was to implicate the Drangpon as being behind the seditious documents in a subtle way and also ensure that the undiscovered documents planted in the Babesa car came to light.
Around this time, Khandu Wangmo got in touch with a former male journalist who had been a co-teacher with her in Drugyel and invited him over for a meal at her house. There she tried to convey that there was an important task for him from a higher official.
The former journalist declined saying he knows the higher official well and if there is anything it would be communicated to him directly and not through any intermediary.
After failing herself, Khandu Wangmo again sent the the doctor to the former journalist saying that there are some seditious documents and if the former journalist could get those documents to His Majesty’s Secretariat.
He again did not fall for the trap and offered to take the doctor and the documents to the secretariat. The doctor never contacted him again.
The plot comes apart
Meanwhile, the RBP was already getting other inputs and the doctor’s story did not stand up to questioning.
After being interrogated the doctor gave up the entire story to the RBP and how Khandu Wangmo had sent her to the RBP with a concocted story.
The RBP then started getting to the people who worked under Khandu Wangmo and they also confessed and testified against her as being the mastermind and also for misleading them.
It was only then that the blackmailed police constable showed the third set of documents planted in the car in Babesa which still lay untouched.
By this time the former lecturer was finally released from prison in Trongsa where he had been locked up for 59 days since January 13th 2020.
He also went straight to the Police Chief and narrated what he saw including the seditious documents in Khandu Wangmo’s bag on 8th January 2020.
The RBP meanwhile launched a raid at Khandu Wangmo’s home but they found nothing in her house.
Far from finding any seditious documents they could not even find the more than dozen or so old phones she had taken from those who worked for her and she had instead given them new phones.
The RBP did its sedition investigation and it was in the course of this sedition investigation that the Criminal Conspiracy case also came up especially after 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 9th July 2020 to the crime branch of RBP.
The case against Khandu Wangmo rests on the testimony of more than two dozen witnesses who were in touch with her including those who were made to do her tasks.
The Thimphu District Court heard a total of around 30 witnesses on 9th July that lasted well into the late evening.
In an interesting twist to the whole story, Khandu Wangmo is now trying to pin the blame for the whole sedition case on the doctor and also those who did her work saying that they all must have done it on their own. This is apart from her own allegations against the former Drangpon and his family.
Despite the overwhelming evidence and several witnesses against her, Khandu Wangmo continues to maintain her innocence.
Khandu Wangmo is charged on three counts of sedition- for the three times she got the seditious documents planted to frame Drangpon Yeshey Dorji and his family.