Judicial custody of Karmapa’s aide, 6 others extended

Thursday, February 24, 2011

DHARAMSALA - A Himachal Pradesh court Thursday extended the judicial custody of seven people, including the Karmapas aide Rubgi Chosang, also known as Shakti Lama, a police official said.

“The judicial custody of all the seven people arrested in connection with the Karmapa controversy was extended by Una’s Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajesh Tomar,” Superintendent of Police Santosh Patyal told IANS.

It was after the seizure of Rs.1 crore meant for land purchase that the Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery, where the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, has been residing for the last few years with his followers, was raided Jan 28 and about Rs.7 crore in foreign and Indian currency recovered.

Police also subsequently arrested a couple in New Delhi in connection with the seizure of Rs.1 crore from two people that was meant as part-payment by the Karmapas trust to buy land in Kangra district, police said.

The couple, Karma Thapa and his wife Rinzin, was charged with arranging money for the monastery.

The Karmapas office has been saying that all the money was from donations from followers the world over, including scores who come from Tibet and carry Chinese currency.

“With regard to the foreign currency seized from the monastery as per the requirement of FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act), the Karmapa Office of Administration created the Saraswati Charitable Trust and first applied for FCRA status on Oct 13, 2003, but did not receive permission to deposit foreign currencies,” the official spokesperson for the Karmapas office, Deki Chungyalpa, told IANS.

“It thus created another trust, Karmae Garchen Trust on July 5, 2006, whose application for FCRA permission to deposit foreign currency was submitted Nov 16, 2010 (after the requisite wait of three years before a trust can apply for FCRA status) and is still pending.

“With little understanding of the legal procedures, and no legitimate means of depositing or exchanging this foreign currency, the money was left to pile up over time, waiting the day when it could be legitimately deposited,” Chungyalpa said.

She added that there was no benami (anonymous) land deal done by the Karmapas trust.

“The Karmae Garchen Trust sought and was granted preliminary approval by the state government to proceed with the plans to purchase the land,” she said.

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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