Judiciary: The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) presented its findings yesterday and asked the dungkhag court in Phuentsholing to convict Choyzang Tashi, the former customs director in Phuentsholing.

The defendant was charged on 15 counts of forgery and two counts relating to witness in February this year in the preliminary hearing. However, the defendant had later, in a rebuttal, denied all the charges.

In the case of forgery, Choyzang Tashi had mentioned of a provision in Section 296 from Chapter 21 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, 2004, which states that “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of forgery, if with the purpose to defraud, deceive, or prejudice the rights of another person, and if  the defendant: makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues, or transfers a writing or document using the authority of another, who did not authorise the defendant to use the authority.”

OAG yesterday pointed out that the offences the former director committed is against this Section. Choyzang Tashi had knowingly and purposely filled up the trade license application forms and undertakings, the OAG argued.

The trade licenses are that of Choyzang Tashi’s mother-in-law’s M/s Sonam Beer Agency and M/s Teed Dee Enterprise for his sister-in-law.

The OAG also charged him for transferring the license of M/s Yeshey Cement Agent, which belonged to his sister-in-law to his wife.

According to the OAG submission, the former director had then deliberately affixed his signature, explaining that this was “a material alteration” on all those documents. The defendant had made material alterations without getting the proper authorisation from the concerned people: his sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and wife.

The OAG made it clear that the defendant would have never been charged if he had established proper authorisation from his in-laws and wife.

Choyzang Tashi had submitted all the 15 documents without power of attorney to the trade department, following which the licenses for M/s Sonam Beer Agency and M/s Teed Dee Enterprise were obtained, while M/s Yeshey Cement Agent license was transferred.

Meanwhile, Choyzang Tashi has also denied the two charges with regards to the offence relating to witness based on the rational that the prosecution must  prove beyond reasonable doubt.

The OAG had drawn a certain provision under the Anti-Corruption Act, 2001. At the court yesterday, OAG argued that Choyzang Tashi has committed offence relating to witness.

Meanwhile, Choyzang Tashi’s mother-in-law Sonam Zangmo, sister-in-law Tenzin Dekar, father-in-law Kinzang Dorji, son Kaylzang Tshering Tashi, and Kinley, a former subordinate, are the five other defendants. They have all denied the charges in the court.

OAG had presented that Sonam Zangmo, Tenzin Dekar, and Kinzang Dorji “knowingly and purposely” gave false information to derail the investigation and obstruct justice. Despite being given enough opportunities and revealing evidences against them confirming Choyzang Tashi’s activities, the OAG had submitted that the defendants did not cooperate and provide constructive information.

In order to save his father, Kaylzang Tshering Tashi also knowingly and purposely visited Sunil Agarwal’s shop in Jaigaon, and threatened him over the phone to not to disclose information about the licenses and leases, the OAG submitted.

Kinley knowingly helped Choyzang Tashi in committing the crimes, the OAG said.

OAG had submitted its rebuttal against all of them.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing