Himachal gives clean chit to Karmapa on cash row

Friday, February 11, 2011

SHIMLA - The Himachal Pradesh government Friday gave a clean chit to the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje in any financial irregularities, and categorically ruled out the possibility of any action against him.

There is no involvement of the Karmapa (in any financial irregularities). We have reasons to believe that some donations came for the monastery and the Karmapa has nothing to do with that. Monastery functionaries were managing the affairs (financial transactions), Chief Secretary Rajwant Sandhu told reporters here.

Police Jan 28 recovered nearly Rs.70 million worth of unaccounted foreign and Indian currency from the Karmapa Lamas monastery, Gyuto Tantric University and monastery near Dharamsala, where the the Dalai Lama is heading his government-in-exile.

Sandhu said: The Karmapa is a religious head and has followers across the world. We respect their religious activities. We dont interfere in any religious affairs.”

She said police are still investigating where the seized currency, the bulk of it Chinese yuans, as also $600,000, came from, its origin and for what purposed it was kept for.

Police are questioning the monastery functionaries and the law will take its own course, she said.

Seven people, including the Karmapas aide Rubgi Chosang, also known as Shakti Lama, are in police custody.

On recommending to the central government to deport the Karmapa from India, the chief secretary said: There is no question at all.

She also clarified that there was no communication from the central government to go slow on the Karmapa issue.

Police still believe the seized money was meant for some illegal land deal in Dharamsala with the involvement of the Karmapas aide Shakti Lama.

However, Sandhu said: The government is conducting the survey to know the benami properties acquired by the exiles across the state. The law is equal for all, including the exiles.

However, the government-in-exile has already clarified that the state government is free to take action against illegal land deals by the Tibetans.

The Tibetans are bound to respect the Indian laws. We dont interfere if the state government takes action against any individual or organisation for violating the laws in acquiring properties. As far the as government-in-exile is concerned, it has constructed buildings after taking permission from the state, Ngodup Dorjee, secretary home department, government-in-exile, told IANS.

Denying all allegations, the Karmapas office said it denies the baseless fabrications touted by some media claiming that His Holiness the Karmapa is a Chinese spy or agent.

Specifically, reports have circulated recently claiming that the Karmapa has acquired land along the Sino-Indian border. We state categorically that His Holiness owns no such property whatsoever, nor does the Karmapas Office of Administration, said Karma Topden and Deki Chungyalpa, advisers to the Karmapa.

Noting that the Dalai Lama has expressed confidence in the Karmapa, the statement said the Tibetan government-in-exile had demonstrated its support to the Karmapa, who is the revered head of a 900-year old order within Tibetan Buddhism.

It was after the seizure of Rs.1 crore from Mehatpur in Una district that raids on the monastery were conducted by police Jan 28 and the huge amount of currency was recovered.

A police team twice questioned the Karmapa about the recovery of money. A four-member Enforcement Directorate team from Chandigarh, headed by deputy director V. Neeraja, also scanned the account books, ledgers and documents pertaining to financial transactions and questioned the monastery officials.

The Karmapa fled Tibet and sought refuge in India in January 2000. Ever since, he has mostly lived at the monastery in Sidhbari near Dharamsala.

Filed under: Religion

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