Former Chang gup charged for violating Land Act, 1979

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged the former Chang gup Naku for illegal encroachment of government of land in Thimphu.

The miscellaneous hearing of the case was conducted yesterday at the Thimphu dzongkhag court.

OAG, in their charges, stated that after the 1994 glacial lake outburst flood in Punakha, the government acquired land belonging to 33 people along the banks of Phochu to construct river protection wall.

Of the 33 landowners, 11 landowners also owned land in Tsalumaphey in Thimphu.

OAG stated that of the 11 landowners, one Mindu Zangmo, despite taking money as compensation from the government was allotted land compensation in Thimphu by the then home minister Dago Tshering. “Nine other landowners, after learning that Mindu Zangmo was allotted land compensation in Thimphu, approached the home ministry in November 1997 for land compensation.”

In December 2001, a committee, led by the then home minister Thinley Jamtsho, the then Commission Officials and the then home secretary, approved the land compensation to the nine owners with the condition that it should be from the extra land registered in their names.

OAG stated that before the committee approved the land compensation, a 46 decimal wetland belonging to late Namgay Lhamo was sold to gup Naku by her son Namgay.

The main contention here was that although the committee clearly stated that land compensation should be within the owners’ extra land, gup Naku took land compensation in a different location. “He measured the land compensation on a government land by creating fictitious plot number 347A,” OAG stated.

It also stated that although the land ownership transfer had to be processed through court, gup Naku’s thram was not processed through court. “The land by then was registered in another fictitious plot number 132 from map K7/19SW.”

The land, after registering into gup Naku’s thram number 852 was divided between Sangay Khandu and Tseten Dorji into 10,019 sqft each.

OAG pleaded the court to sentence defendant gup Naku between three months to three years and seek restitution of the two plots from Sangay Khandu and Tseten Dorji in accordance with section 6.20 of the 1979 Land Act.

OAG also requested the court for restitution of Nu 400,725 from the defendant for the illegal use of the government land. “The court should also penalise the defendant as the court deems necessary for the crimes committed.”

Tashi Dema

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