ACC charges former land record of­fi­cer for il­le­gal reg­is­tra­tion of 8.5 acres govt. land into pri­vate thram

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Chen­cho Dema from Thim­phu

The Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral is cur­rently re­view­ing a case for­warded by the An­ti­Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (ACC) which al­leges the former Land Record Of­fi­cer (LRO) of Thim­phu Dzongkhag Ad­min­is­tra­tion and one of his clients for il­le­gally reg­is­ter­ing 8.55 acres of gov­ern­ment land into pri­vate thram.

The ACC got wind of the case, which hap­pened in early 2000, due to the in­con­sis­tency in the former LRO Karma Jamt­sho’s le­gal in­come and the num­ber

of plots reg­is­tered in his name. The ACC started the in­quiry fol­low­ing a sus­pi­cious trans­fer of 20-dec­i­mal land at Wang­sisina to Karma Jamt­sho’s name by his client Nadik.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that Karma Jamt­sho re­ceived the 20-dec­i­mal plot as a gift from Nadik for fa­cil­i­tat­ing the reg­is­tra­tion of two plots viz. ex­cess plot 45/z mea­sur­ing 4.58 acres and il­le­gal plot 68/y mea­sur­ing 3.92 acres - in to­tal 8.55 acres in Thram 685 in con­tra­ven­tion to the Chap­ter 4) en­ti­tle­ment of ex­cess land, Guide­lines on the New Sathram Com­pi­la­tion (NSC) 2004 and writ­ten in­struc­tion from Sur­vey Gen­eral of erst­while De­part­ment of Sur­vey and Land Records.

The ACC’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that a cer­tain San­gay Dorji pur­chased a plot named ‘Jhazhing Gokha Dang Ch­huJuSar’ mea­sur­ing 5 acres from Lt. Darlup Gyelt­shen in early 1990s. Some­time be­fore the NSC sur­vey in 2000, San­gay Dorji fenced huge patch of gov­ern­ment land sur­round­ing this land in an­tic­i­pa­tion to con­vert and reg­is­ter into his Thram. How­ever, dur­ing the NSC field sur­vey, the sur­vey team marked the ex­cess land as il­le­gal plot as 68/Y and plot 45/Z, which to­gether mea­sured 8.55 acres.

Then in 2002, Sanagy Dorji ar­ranged to sell 4.75 acres out of 5 acres (legally owned) to Nadik’s wife with an un­der­stand­ing that San­gay Dorji would re­tain 25 dec­i­mal in his Thram to en­able him to process the ex­cess land claim. How­ever, af­ter his failed at­tempt, the re­main­ing 25-dec­i­mal land was sold to Nadik in late 2006.

Nadik then turned to Karma Jamt­sho, who was then work­ing as LRO in Thim­phu Dzongkhag Ad­min­is­tra­tion, to as­sist him in reg­u­lar­iz­ing the two ex­cess plots, which were oth­er­wise not en­ter­tained to San­gay Dorji.

Af­ter San­gay Dorji failed to reg­u­lar­ize the il­le­gal land, they made an ap­pli­ca­tion let­ter to De­part­ment of Sur­vey and Land Records in June 2006 ap­peal­ing for the ex­cess land and had San­gay Dorji sign on it to make it ap­pear that the lat­ter moved the ap­peal.

The De­part­ment in­structed Thim­phu Dzongkhag Ad­min­is­tra­tion to ver­ify the ex­cess land claim case un­der Me­wang Ge­wog, which in­cluded San­gay Dorji’s case. With­out any field ver­i­fi­ca­tion and de­spite know­ing that the plots were il­le­gal, Karma Jamt­sho, in his ca­pac­ity as a LRO, sub­mit­ted a field ver­i­fi­ca­tion re­port to the Depar­ment, val­i­dat­ing San­gay Dorji’s case as el­i­gi­ble for ex­cess land.

Ac­cord­ingly, the Sur­vey and Land Records De­part­ment reg­is­tered the 8.55 acres ex­cess land in Nadik’s name. As so­licited and in grat­i­fi­ca­tion for his as­sistance, Nadik trans­ferred 20 dec­i­mals from the newly reg­is­tered two plots to Karma Jamt­sho, which he reg­is­tered in the name of his daugh­ter.

The ACC’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion found prima fa­cie case of bribery, de­cep­tive prac­tice, of­fi­cial mis­con­duct and il­le­gal en­croach­ment of gov­ern­ment land against Karma Jamt­sho and Nadik.

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