Conspiracies in GNH country

By Wangcha Sangey

Bhutan’s Conspiracy Case internationalized under roaring Headlines. 

” Top Bhutan General and Judges detained for overthrow plot.”

” Bhutan’s most senior SC Judge, top Army Officer detained in conspiracy case.” 

Bhutan as a nation does not need such international News Headlines about  “Plots ” and “Conspiracy”  against the authority. The following is an example of how events get blown out of proportion and out of context.

“THIMPHU, Bhutan: Police in Bhutan, the Himalayan kingdom famed for its happiness index, have detained a top general and two judges over an alleged plot to overthrow the country’s top military officer and chief justice. ” 

What I feared would happen has happened. It is really very bad publicity for GNH Country and the People’s King. 

There is no plot or conspiracy to overthrow the Army General and The Chief Justice here within Bhutan. But Headlines News in the world says differently.

The smear campaign against our illustrated Army General His Excellency Batoo Tshering took a concentrated dimension after the Doklam invasion by the Indian Army. India claimed their Army was invited by Royal Bhutan Army. 

But our Bhutan  Army General refused to be bullied into submission on that score. His Majesty the King stood only for his Kingdom so he did not take sides between India and China. And Bhutanese Ambassador at New Delhi called for status quo ( meaning as it was before the invasion ) at Doklam. So ultimately Indian Army had to withdraw from Bhutan- China Doklam.

In my perspective the campaign against General Batoo Tshering was two pronged. 

1. The high profile Cases of Army Officers handling DeSuung trainings. 

2. The corruption report filed with ACC against the Army General by the ” Threesome Party of 2 Judges and RBG Brigadier ” presently prosecuted by OAG.

Let me elaborate a little on the above stated  two pronged attack. 

a) Most thought that the high profile Scandal related to DeSuung Training was instigated by General Batoo himself  to oust Brigadier Thinley Tobgye who was Commanding the Tencholing Military Training Centre during the period of the scandal. Even affected military officers in the DeSuung case believed that they were  victims of power tussle between their own General and Brigadier Thinley Tobgye who had been appointed as RBG Commandant.

For over two years, I provided moral and legal guidance to the affected military officers and soldiers. My only motive was to contain the fire of damages to the national image. For me the image of  Bhutan the nation is more important than any DeSuung related Scandal or Judges and Brigadier related conspiracy.

I told the defendants that DeSuung Training related Scandal adversely affected the General as much as the Brigadier and they the officers and Lopons of RBA. So General Batoo Tshering in no way could have instigated the investigation. He is responsible for the actions of his officers including that of the Brigadier in Command of Training Centre.

In my opinion RBA was facing an unknown but powerful adversary. 

And on that premise, I prepared them for their Court cases in High Court and Supreme Court. And finally at their request, I drafted the Appeal Letter to the Supreme Commander. Only for this final letter, I made each individual pay a nominal fee. It was legally necessary that all the officers and non- commissioned officers take onus for the Appeal Letter to His Majesty the King. It was their appeal not mine. 

I am grateful to Palden Drukpai ChhoeChangs that the high profile case of DeSuung Training Officers and non- Commissioned officers concluded on a desirable ending that I constantly worked and prayed for over 2 years. It was taxing and very exhausting. But worth preserving the good image of the nation.

b) This case about fake corruption report to ACC against the Army General is about 2 years or maybe 3 years old. I heard of it quite long ago. And I believe that as a consequence of that false allegation and whatever other reasons the Brigadier was retired from service. And the senior most SC Judge did not get to succeed as Chief Justice when his predessor completed his 5 year term. For me that false corruption case filed with ACC is a closed chapter. 

I do not look at the two attacks on the Army General as personal attacks on honourable Batoo Tshering himself. Maybe,  even the General would disagree with me on this score. But to me it is an attack on the Institution of the Royal Bhutan Army whose Supreme Head is the King of Bhutan. This is the reason why I wrote decrying the conspiracy theory propagated by OAG. I do not want this recent event to blow out of proportion. And unnecessarily drag Royal  Bhutan Army into it. 

We need to know that there are powerful forces within or most probably without the nation that would prefer Bhutan weak and disturbed. Our own loyal officials can be duped into doing things they normally may never imagined doing. We need to tread carefully. 

Let me give an example. 

In the chaotic period of early 1970s when Bhutan faced political and social upheaval, I was fed with adverse  information about Army Chief of Operations honourable  Lam Dorji. I could not ignore the information and yet I had grave doubts. So I reported the information as I was given. But I took extraordinary step ( it is protocolly never done ). I warned my King that we maybe getting played by adversaries who wished to remove officials most loyal the King. I overcame my fear of breaching the long established palace protocol ( never speak especially advise a King unless asked) for the sake of my King and Country. 

Today,  I Appeal to the Nation and OAG and the Judges in the Royal Courts  to please tread carefully. There are no traitors among Bhutanese officials.  Maybe duped officials. And yes we all are guilty of aspiring for the next higher post. But not conspirators to cause downfall of the sacred Institutions as the Royal Bhutan Army and the Supreme Court of Bhutan because both represent the King. 

By the way some people might want to  know a little about the central figure lady of the much hyped conspiracy case now under prosecution in Thimphu Dzongkhag Court.

An fb friend sent a Kuensel link. The lady wrote an article in Kuensel of 29th October, 2015 titled  ” Tencholing and Beyond ”  by DeSuup Bumden Khandu Wangmo. 

Perhaps our fair Bhutanese lady who seems to have tantalized many hearts and spun many heads was also in turn duped. Anyway, when she wrote the article she was still an employee of the Embassy of India in Bhutan. Presently our media says she is under RBP custody.

How complex is the ” conspiracy ”  allegations against Judiciary and Defence Officials?

This is the background copied from Bhutan Today. Other news media more or less said the same things. 

“The senior-most justice of the Supreme Court, Kuenley Tshering, and the Pemagatshel Drangpon Yeshey Dorji were charged with criminal conspiracy against the Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the Royal Bhutan Army. The two were arrested following the detention of former Royal Body Guards commandant, Brigadier Thinley Tobgye.

The case came to limelight after a woman, who was arrested a few months ago disclosed about their “conspiratorial relationship and motives” to secure the posts of RBA’s COO, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General or Registrar General of the Supreme Court.”

There was rumours about a false report to ACC out of personal malice. But this recent ” conspiracy allegations ” is a lightening out of blue. What strikes me is the stupidity behind the ” conspiracy ” theory for the following reasons. 

1. The posts of Chief of Operations of RBA and Chief Justice are at the pleasure of His Majesty the King. So how does one conspire to secure the posts?  

2. The Post of Attorney General is at the pleasure of the Prime Minister. 

3. The post of Registrar General of Supreme Court is more or less in the hand of the Chief Justice. And the Acting Chief Justice Kuenley Tshering had identified  another Drangpon. Not Yeshey Dorji for the post. 

4. Justice Kuenley Tshering as the senior most Justice in the Supreme Court was already in line for the post of Chief Justice. It is ludicrous to get involved in a false corruption case and that too against such an honourable gentleman as the Chief of Operations for the reason of securing his own succession to Chief Justice post. Do not tell me that Chief of Operation could have become the Chief Justice and therefore the next in line Justice Kuenley Tshering was protecting his turf.  In reality, his involvement in the corruption allegation may have cost him the Chief Justice post.   

5. Brigadier Thinley Tobgye was already a hand picked royal officer from RBA to Command RBG. At his seniority and with the  royal trust, he had equal chance like other Brigadiers to become Chief of Operations at a future date if sitting Major Generals were bypassed. Would a conspiracy to topple the sitting Chief of Operations who was appointed by the King enhance the chance for Brigadier Thinley Tobgye to become Chief of Operations? Seems so far fetched. 

6. To me the surest way for Justice Kuenley Tshering and Brigadier Thinley Tobgye to secure their future posts had to be to do a damn good job in the posts they held. Why engage in antics of the wayward sorts? Were they duped? If so then they did not have the brain to head the respective institutions. 

7. The woman referred to  by the media  is the wife of the Drangpon alleged to be a party in the ” conspiracy” game. The two are undergoing a divorce case. Is she an aggrieved vengeful wife, a political  pawn or a reliable unprejudiced source? 

My gut feeling is that definitely the Senior Supreme Court Justice and the Brigadier  had breached their trust and sacredness of their posts. Otherwise this trial would not be happening. However, this ” conspiracy theory ” seemed to be a public eye wash. There has to be more damaging reasons but not healthy to share publicly. I do not think the Court proceedings would enlighten any further. 

Anyway, whenever something like this happens, at the personal level, my heart goes out to the immediate families for their pains and fear though I do not know them.  And at the national level, I regret the pain caused to His Majesty the King. 

I wish this incident was dealt in a less public and damaging manner by the Office of the Attorney General. Now this whole thing about GNH and one people one nation and one King is disrupted at the highest level of Chief Justice and Chief of Operations of the Defence Forces. The very dignity of the Druk Yul is under the dark cloud. The detractors of Bhutan would be having a Tsechu Festival.

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