RBP charges former Trongsa Dzongdag for Attempt to Murder

The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) Thimphu has charged former Trongsa Dzongdag, Lhap Dorji for attempt to murder, his daughter for disorderly conduct and others for battery, following an incident that has shaken up agencies like the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), the Judiciary and the people. The incident happened on April 29, 2022, right outside the Supreme Court, after the verdict on the Trongsa land case involving Lhap Dorji and others were passed. Lhap Dorji, stabbed Director of the ACC, Gyeltshen, while family members assaulted ACC Commissioner Jamtsho. However, the RBP said these are charged levied against the accused and that investigations are being conducted.  
According to eye witnesses, Lhab Dorji stabbed the Director on his hand after which he threw the knife used into a bin nearby, which was later found by the police. The Director and Commissioner were immediately taken to the hospital in a car of the ACC. Later, the police reached the spot and took Lhab Dorji, his wife and others involved to the police station. The Journalist learned that the director required three stiches while Commissioner Jamtsho was treated for bruises. Both have been send home and are in stable conditions. 
Meanwhile, ACC Chairperson, Aum Deki Pem, who was also present at the court but was held behind as others left the court said, the incident happened in the hallowed premises of the Supreme Court, at the door of the Court Room immediately after the judgments was pronounced, in the presence of many witnesses including court officials, media and police official on duty. “We have trust in the system and believe that appropriate action will be taken to uphold the rule of law. At the moment we are cooperating with the RBP. We trust that the rule of law will be upheld,” she said. The Chairperson said, Director Gyeltshen had been serving in the ACC since around 2007 and the attack on him would have caused mental trauma to him as well as family members. “Similarly, Commissioner Jamtsho has been with the ACC for quiet some time now,” she added. 
Though a bit disturbed, the Chairperson said the incident has motivated the Commission and has brought to light why the ACC does what it is mandated to do. “We have always been determined, and this incident has emboldened our determination and made us more resolute,” she said. 
When asked why eight ACC officials had to go for the case, the Chairperson said the Supreme Court judgment is the ultimate in the judicial process. “Presence of the Commission and management at the judgments pronouncement reinforces the fact that the case was pursued in the best public interest, by the ACC as a Constitutional Office, as mandated under the Constitution,” she said, underlining that the Commission is ultimately responsible and accountable for the outcome. “This also assures and creates the conditions for the individual officers and staff on the investigation and prosecution teams assigned to the task to work professionally and fearlessly,” the Chairperson said.
She also said it is a standard practice that lawyers attend it because they battled the case through and through. “Commission members had to attend it as part of moral responsibility to bear the brunt if judgment went in their favor and to provide moral support to the team,” the Chairperson said.
While social media is replete with comments on the case, a retired civil servant said, “the incident is not about who won or lost,” “It reflects in many ways how low Bhutan’s social discipline has fallen and how there is utter disregard for the rule of law.” He added that comments on social media, though anonymous indicate that people are increasingly believing and made to believe that there is no justice in Bhutan. “I am not saying so but many are. Perhaps the Judiciary and other agencies should reflect on this. But what Lhap Dorji did, no matter how frustrated he may have been is just not acceptable,” he added. 
The Journalist also learned that with security lapses being questioned, the RBP has deputed the Additional Chief of Police and two Deputy Chiefs of Police to do an enquiry in the matter against both the VVIP Police and the Thimphu Division, after which actions will be taken. 
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had upheld the high court verdict in the Trongsa land case which had also upheld the Trongsa District Court’s verdict. The former Trongsa Dzongda is convicted to 5 years’ imprisonment on four charges of forgery, three charges of official misconduct and execution of document by deception. His wife and the former Gup of Drakteng, Tenzin, are convicted to 6 years each. The former Dzongdag’s wife was found guilty on three counts of solicitation, four counts of forgery, official misconduct and for another offence related to witness.
Former Gup Tenzin was found guilty on five counts of forgery, three counts of deceptive practice and for forging the thumbprint of the land seller and the witness. Surveyor Narayan Dangal was convicted to one year and six months in prison for official misconduct and for aiding and abetting. 
The case began after the accused were held liable for a land scam and illegal acquisition of 4.76 acres of land at Thumgang or ‘View Point’ in Trongsa by Karma Tshetim Dolma, the former Dzongdag’s wife. Lhab Dorji was then the Trongsa Dzongda.