Thimphu: A 33-year old man from Trashigang was spared the full brunt of the tobacco law for bringing in the contraband just outside the border point between India and Bhutan on February 25.
When the district court in Samdrup Jongkhar passed its verdict on March 22, Cheku Dorji received just half the sentence – one year and eight months – because when arrested, he was a few yards short of the Bhutanese territory.
This happened because the Gelephu-Samdrup Jongkhar bus in which he was a conductor usually stops for inspection just outside the gate. As a result, not only is the punishment lighter but Cheku Dorji can pay Nu 60,000 in lieu of the sentence.
He was caught with 200 pieces of cigarettes and 600 packets of Baba (chewing tobacco) which he had hidden in a box concealed near the driver’s seat.
When the police asked him to open the box, he confessed having the tobacco products. He even went to the extent of confessing that he intended to sell them in Kanglung in Trashigang.
“He was very fortunate for having been caught just outside the border,” said a police officer. “He was convicted only for the attempt to smuggle in tobacco products.”
Cheku Dorji, who is presently out on bail, also told the police that he had bought the contraband from Daranga, an Assam district adjoining Samdrup Jongkhar.
Meanwhile, the police in Paro have released Kado, a 17-year old unemployed youth, who was found carrying a packet of Baba.
On March 19, Kado had gone to the Paro police station to reach breakfast for a friend who had been involved in an assault the previous day and was detained.
Kado was caught while trying to share the chewing tobacco he had in his pocket with his detained friend.
The police have released Kado on surety as he is a juvenile.