Indian national sentenced to five years in prison by Bhutan’s Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Bhutan has sentenced five years in prison to an Indian national, the owner of Jatan Prasad Lal Chand Prasad departmental store in Phuentshogling, for evading tax.

Phuentshogling is one of the main commercial towns in southern Bhutan bordering the Indian Jaigoan town in West Bengal. The judgment was passed on May 14.

The Office of Attorney General (OAG) has charged him for tax evasion amounting to over Rs 184 million. He was also ordered to restitute Nu 154 M within a month from the date of the judgment.

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The larger bench of the High Court overturned the ruling of the High Court’s judgement before and upheld the judgement of the Block Court where Jatan Lal Prasad will be liable to restitute more than Rs 14.487 million and additional Rs 7.875 million in back taxes and penalties after the deduction of direct cost.

The High Court had overturned the Block Court’s judgment and sentenced the defendant to five years non-compoundable prison term. After the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) appealed against the lower court’s ruling, the tax liability of JPLP was also increased from Rs 14.487 million to Rs 126.897 million by including purchase cost.

The Anti-Corruption Commission uncovered that the JPLP had evaded tax in 2015.

The OAG prosecuted the case until the Larger Bench of the High Court. However, the Anti Corruption Commission appealed the case to the Supreme Court in 2019 after the judgment by the Larger Bench.

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