Thimphu police has arrested three men for theft of 402 kilograms of Paris Polyphylla roots.

According to police, the incident happened on August 1 around 4pm when the suspects claiming to be buyers collected eight sacks of the roots worth about Nu 3.23 million from a house in Motithang in Thimphu and disappeared without making the payment.

The owner of the property filed a complaint to the police on August 2.

Paris Polyphylla is known as Dou Sethochem or Dochu Kewa in Dzongkha, Thoksampa in Tshangla and Satuwa in Lhotshamkha.

The complainant, a man from Trashiyangtse, had brought the roots to be sold in Paro, according to police. He had left the roots at his sister’s house in Motithang and left for Trashiyantse.

A police official said that the complainant told one of his friends that he has Paris Polyphylla roots for sale. The friend shared the information with his friend, a 24-year-old man from Mongar.

According to police, the complainant told the 24-year-old man to collect the goods from his sister’s place in Motithang after the man called the complainant saying he was interested to buy the roots

The suspect, along with his two friends from Haa aged 28 and 37 years, loaded the roots in a Prado and told the complainant’s sister that they would withdraw the money from Bank and make the payment.

The official said the sister asked one of her cousins to go with the men to the bank. “When the cousin was getting the car key, the men drove off and the cousin did not find the men in the bank.”

Police checked the CCTV footages in the city and traced a Silver Prado matching the description given by the complainant parked near an ATM machine at the Centenary Farmer’s Market around the time before the incident.

Police learned that the Prado belongs to someone known to the 24-year-old suspect.

“We could trace the suspects through the vehicle and its owner,” the official said. “The 24-year-old man borrowed the car from the owner saying he needs the vehicle to drop some things to Langjophakha and gave his Maruti Swift Dzire to the owner.”

Two suspects were arrested on August 4 and the goods were seized from them. The 37-year-old man was arrested on August 6.

Paris Polyphylla is in traditional Chinese medicines. The plant can be used as a pain reliever, antiphlogistic (removing heat), antispasmodic, diphtheria, for fever, headache, wounds and burns, among others.

Dechen Tshomo