Neten Dorji

The dzongkhag court of Trashiyangtse has sentenced three men to prison for fraudulent insurance claims.

In the judgement rendered on May 30, Tshering Wangdi, 46, from Zhisagang in Thimphu, received a sentence of one year and six months in prison for asking Neten Dorji, 49, to set his machinery on fire.

Tshering Wangdi, however, has the option to pay thrimthue in place of serving the prison term for the remaining duration of one year, four months, and 27 days.

Neten Dorji, a resident of Tongmijangsa in Trashiyangtse, has been sentenced to one year and six months in prison for collecting Nu 30,000 and soliciting another individual, Tenzin Dorji, to set the machine on fire.

He also has the option to pay thrimthue instead of serving the prison term for the remaining duration of one year, four months, and 29 days.

Tenzin Dorji, a driver from Mankhar, Trashigang, received a three-year prison sentence for setting the machine on fire.

According to the judgment, Neten Dorji had hired a JCB backhoe loader to extract sand along the Drangmechu at Tshergom in Trashiyangtse.

The judgement reads: “The judgment reveals that the JCB backhoe experienced frequent breakdowns, prompting Neten Dorji to communicate the challenges of procuring machine parts for maintenance with the owner. Tshering Wangdi suggested via WhatsApp that Neten Dorji should either set the machine on fire or dump it into a river to claim insurance before its insurance coverage expired.”

Neten Dorji has also asked for a commission of Nu 50,000 from the owner, Tshering Wangdi, to set the machine on fire, according to the judgement.

After Tenzin Dorji hesitated to take action by setting the machine on fire himself, he approached his friend Jampel Dorji to do it in exchange for a commission and a division of Nu 50,000. Subsequently, when Jampel Dorji declined the offer, Tenzin Dorji carried out the act of setting the machine on fire.

On January 28 last year, the JCB backhoe loader caught fire around 4am and Tshering Wangdi later claimed insurance of Nu 4.84 million in total loss from Bhutan Insurance Limited (BIL) for the machine. Tshering Wangdi deposited Nu 30,000 as a reward for setting the house on fire. 

Trashiyangtse Police initiated an investigation after uncovering anomalies surrounding a machine found damaged and unused in the Korlung area in January of the previous year. Following the inquiry, it came to light that the owner of the machine had deceitfully filed an insurance claim.

The police forwarded the case to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which then charged Tshering Wangdi with obtaining insurance fraudulently. Neten Dorji and Tenzin Dorji were charged with aiding and abetting.

After legal proceedings, the court directed Tshering Wangdi to reimburse the insurance claims totaling Nu 4.84 million to BIL within one month. 

Tshering Wangdi and Neten Dorji were provided the opportunity to pay thrimthue instead of serving a prison sentence. However, Tenzin Dorji did not receive this alternative and was instead sentenced to imprisonment.