Second suspect in taxi driver’s murder surrenders to police

Crime: The second suspect involved in the murder of a 50-year old taxi driver, whose body was found above Babesa zero point in Thimphu on April 21, surrendered to Thimphu police on May 2.

Police were informed that Karma Dorji, 22, from Paro was at Kakarvitta in Nepal with a distant relative.  Police then called Karma Dorji’s relatives at the police headquarters and advised them to convince him to surrender.

Chief of police, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel, said that they assured the suspect’s relatives that he would be dealt with as per due process of law.

The first suspect, Tandin Gyeltshen, and an eyewitness Kinley Gyeltshen, 26, were arrested last week, but Karma Dorji had absconded.  Police had announced a reward of Nu 10,000 for any information that led to his arrest.

Karma Dorji’s statement contradicted that of Tandin Gyeltshen’s.  Karma Dorji told police that the taxi fare from Phuentsholing to Thimphu was fixed at Nu 2,500 while Tandin Gyeltshen had said it was Nu 2,000.  Karma Dorji said that both of them handed over the controlled substances they had brought from Jaigoan, India to the taxi driver on the way for safe custody in case they were frisked at the check-posts.  After crossing Tsimasham in Chukha, Karma Dorji said the taxi driver threatened them, saying he would report them to police at the check-posts.  However, the driver did not report after repeated requests.  Frustrated with the driver’s behaviour, Tandin Gyeltshen instigated Karma Dorji to slit the driver’s throat and strangulate him.  Tandin Gyeltshen gave him a knife and a kabney belonging to the driver, which Karma Dorji said he refused.

Upon reaching Thimphu around 2 am on April 21, Tandin Gyeltshen managed to borrow some money from his friends, picked up Kinley Gyeltshen from the vegetable market, and went to Olakha.  Kinley Gyeltshen was detained since April 23, for not reporting the crime to police.  Karma Dorji said when they reached Changjalu, the driver refused to hand over the drugs, as they failed to pay the demanded taxi fare.  Tandin Gyeltshen then got out of the taxi and stabbed the driver.

The taxi driver ran out of the taxi screaming for help, but Tandin Gyeltshen and Karma Dorji pulled him back inside the taxi.  Karma Dorji then drove the taxi towards Royal Thimphu College and Tandin Gyeltshen stabbed the driver several times with his left hand.  The men dumped the body on the roadside where Tandin Gyeltshen stabbed the driver again and slit his throat.

Police said, after disposing the body, the three men headed to Tandin Gyeltshen’s house in the same taxi.  Karma Dorji washed the bloodstained knife and kept it in the kitchen, after which Tandin Gyeltshen drove the taxi and left it near Hotel Riverview.  The vehicle documents, car key and driver’s mobile phone were handed over to Karma Dorji, which he threw in the Wangchu (river).

On the same day, the three men attended Tandin Gyeltshen’s mother’s funeral, after which Karma Dorji left for Phuentsholing in a taxi.  Karma Dorji said he sold the driver’s phone for Nu 400 and disposed off the key near Jaigaon, India.

On April 21, a passerby, who spotted the body with multiple stab wounds around 7am, reported to police.  The deceased was later identified as Kankhu from Dophuchen gewog, Dorokha, Samtse.

Police said the informer would be rewarded Nu 10,000 as announced earlier.

By Dechen Tshomo

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