Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

Police in Punakha have forwarded the vehicle scam case to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) on October 25 after completing their investigation.

While the police have retrieved 27 vehicles, 24 cases have been registered against five suspects, including one male. Three of the 24 vehicles have been returned to their owners.

According to Punakha Police Officer-In-Command Lt Col Chador Namgay, the three vehicles were seized before they could be sold to a third party.

The vehicle scam issue first came to light on September 22 when a man from Punakha reported that his Bolero, which he had rented out, had been sold for Nu 250,000.

In this case, one of the suspects was questioned and later released on bail.

Police received three similar complaints on October 8. The cases were, however, registered on October 11 after eight more people lodged similar complaints.

All five suspects used the same modus operandi to hire the vehicles, which was to say they needed the vehicles to supply vegetables to de-suups.

In the following few days, vehicles were seized with the help of the Check Post Management System (CPMS).

Upon interrogation, it was found that the 41-year-old man from Mongar had initially asked to rent a Bolero from a 28-year-old man in Punakha.

Later, the 28-year-old was asked to work as a broker for the suspect and in return received Nu 5,000 as commission.

A total of nine vehicles were brokered before he came to know that the suspect hadn’t paid the rental charge.

Police also confirmed that the male suspect suggested that one of the female suspects get into renting and selling vehicles.

The suspects were charged with deceptive practices and forgery.

However, the wife of the male suspect was charged with aiding and abetting, as a police investigation revealed that she was not directly involved in the scam, but took the calls from the vehicle owners on behalf of her husband.

Edited by Tshering Palden