HP govt clean chit to Karmapa in foreign currency haul case

HP govt clean chit to Karmapa in foreign currency haul case

"The huge foreign currency recovered during raids from the Gyuto Monastery, the transit home of the Karmapa, are donations and offerings from devotees and the Karmapa has no links with it as the affairs of the trust are managed by trustees," Chief Secretary Rajwant Sandhu told reporters here.

"The Karmapa is a revered religious leader of the Buddhists and the government has no intentions to interfere in religious affairs of the Buddhists," she said, adding there was no question of any action against the Karmapa and also no reason to believe that he has links with the foreign currency seizure to the tune of Rs 7.5 crore from Sidhbari.

When asked whether there was any chance of the Karmapa "being arrested" in connection with the seizure, she said there was "zero" possibility of any such thing happening.

While the police and the Enforcement Directorate sleuths have quizzed the Karmapa and his aides in connection with source of foreign currency, including Chinese currency, the investigating agencies claim to have got vital leads about purchase of benami land plots.

Referring to alleged 'benami' land transactions by some Tibetans, Sandhu said all such transactions were being probed and the law would take its own course.

Himachal Pradesh has a stringent law that bans purchase of land by non-agriculturists, including bonafide Himachalis, without the permission of the government.

Referring to certain properties associated with the Dalai Lama, Sandhu said that a proposal was under consideration to regularise and legalise some of these properties but the matter was in the High Court which had stayed the process.

Foreign currency worth Rs 7.5 crore belonging to 25 countries including China was recovered by police from the premises of a Karmapa-backed trust and some of the trustees in the raids that followed recovery of Rs one crore from two persons on Mehatpur border on January 25 last, allegedly drawn from a bank at Majnoo-ka-Tila in Delhi for some land deal.

The Chief Secretary said that it has been established that Rs one crore was brought from a bank at Majnoo-ka-Tila but the Karmapa has nothing to do with it.

The police arrested seven persons including one Sanjay Dutt and Ashutosh, who were carrying the cash in the car, Shakti Lama, a key aide of the Karmapa, Dharamsala-based hotelier K P Bharadwaj, Manager of Ambala branch of Corporation Bank D K Dhar and a couple -- Karma Thapa and his wife Rinzin.