Thimphu dzongkhag court’s bench I has sentenced a non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) to two years in prison for officially induced error and passive bribery.

Peljab Rinzin Dorji, 34, was convicted for taking Nu 17,000 from three men, who were serving their prison term for a gold smuggling case and sending them out of the prison to meet their spouses in November 2016 and January last year.

The March 20 judgment stated that the NCO violated the Anti-Corruption Act of Bhutan and the Penal Code of Bhutan. The crime was graded a misdemeanour.

The judgment stated that the NCO, during his duty in November 2016, told a prisoner, Chungdu Wangchuk, that he could go home if he wants to.

The modus operandi he then used was that he took Chungdu Wangchuk to the hospital but when the police jail van dropped them at the hospital parking, they took a taxi to go to the prisoner’s home.

Peljab Rinzin Dorji’s statement to police stated that Chungdu Wangchuk put Nu 5,000 in his hand later in the evening.

Although he contended that he borrowed the money during the trial, it was not proven.

He also sent Chungdu Wangchuk and another prisoner Rinzin home on different occasions and took Nu 7,000 from Rinzin’s relative. In January last year, he sent prisoner Rinchen Dorji out of jail and later took Nu 5,000 from him.

It was learnt that the NCO was arrested on January 31, 2017, and sent on bail on March 3. He was court-martialled.

The NCO paid Nu 84,500 in lieu of prison term.

Prisoner Chungdu Wangchuk, Rinchen Dorji and Rinzin (whose involvement in the gold case was deferred by Supreme Court) were sentenced to a year and a half in prison for bribing the NCO.

Tashi Dema