Thimphu dzongkhag court’s civil bench II sentenced a 31-year-old man to three years, three months imprisonment for selling a hired Prado with a fake agreement.

The December 19 judgment stated that the accused was charged with a fourth degree felony for breaching trust of the vehicle owner and selling the vehicle to a third person.

According to the agreement signed between the accused and the owner on June10, 2016, the Prado was given on hire to the accused at Nu 45,000 a month for seven months.

The accused later forged signatures of the vehicle owner and two other witnesses, Rinchen Namgyel and Kaka, and backdated the agreement to September 13, 2015, where he had mentioned that the Prado was sold to him.

According to the judgment, the accused Sonam Dorji, from Kazhi in Wangduephodrang, has forged signatures of the vehicle owner Sonam Wangdi, Rinhen Namgay and Kaka and later sold to a person called Ugyen Dorji for Nu 1.25 million .

Since the vehicle was returned to the owner without any damage, the prosecutor of the attorney general office submitted to court that the accused be charged with value-based sentence and for forging the three signatures.

The court found that the three charges of forging the signatures were similar crimes and that the accused could not be charged separately for the same crime. On interrogation, the accused confessed to committing the crime because of his young age and his friends’ influence.

Based on the confession, the court charged him with a fourth degree felony according to the Penal Code of Bhutan’s  (PCB) section 297(b) and (11) but reduced his sentenced to three years, three months as he has no criminal record. The sentence for a fourth degree felony ranges from a minimum of three years to maximum of five years.

He was detained on January 25 this year and will serve the remaining prison term. The accused will also have to pay Nu 45,000 rental charge to the vehicle owner within ten days of the verdict.

He has ten days to appeal.

Tashi Tenzin