Judiciary: The Supreme Court issued the verdict on the much-talked about court battle between Dr Shacha Wangmo’s mother, Tandin Bidha and Sonam Phuntsho, yesterday.

As in the High Court verdict, the Supreme Court’s verdict states that Tandin Bidha, the appellant, has to pay Nu 18 million to Sonam Phuntsho within three months, failing which Sonam Phuntsho will own nine units or half the building that is jointly owned by Tandin Bidha and her daughter Sonam Wangmo, in Changzamtog.

Sonam Phuntsho will have to pay Sonam Wangmo’s loan and penalties with the Bhutan National Bank as the building was mortgaged with the bank.

Sonam Wangmo had taken advance of Nu 18 million from Sonam Phuntsho for sale of the 18-unit building.

The Supreme Court upheld the verdict of the lower courts and declared the sale deed of the house was invalid as Tandin Bidha contested that she didn’t sign the deed.

Tandin Bidha said that the defendant must show evidence of the four money transactions whether through cash or cheque. The verdict said that there were adequate evidences to show that Sonam Wangmo had received money from Sonam Phuntsho in the legally binding hand-written receipts she signed and issued.

However, there were four money receipts amounting to Nu 18 million where Sonam Wangmo agreed to receiving money from Sonam Phuntsho. Tandin Bidha asked the courts to conduct a forensic investigation on the handwriting and signatures claiming they were tampered.

The verdict stated that the handwriting in the receipts matched with other documents written and submitted by Sonam Wangmo to the court. Moreover, Sonam Wangmo’s attorney confirmed that it was her signatures.

The Supreme Court re-examined the case on the instruction of the Gyalpoi Zimpon’s Office after Tandin Bidha appealed to His Majesty The King.

TBank submitted to the court that the remaining property be given to the bank after deducting the money owed to Sonam Phuntsho.

Sonam Wangmo and her husband Choki Gyaltshen had availed of loans of Nu 15 million each from the bank submitting fake land registration certificates. As of July they owed the bank a little over Nu 38 million in interest and principal amount. The court said that the bank has to file a separate case.

Tandin Bidha said that the verdict was unacceptable. “I was hoping at least the judges would do a forensics test on the signatures,” she said.

The two parties exchanged harsh words outside the court after the verdict requiring police to intervene.

Tshering Palden