Tibetan leader under lens for 'tax evasion'

 A top Tibetan religious leader has come under the scanner of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence for allegedly evading duty charges on four luxury vehicles imported from Bhutan.

Acting on an information, the DRI claimed to have found that the four vehicles bearing Bhutan registration numbers were brought in the country allegedly by the present Gyalwang Karmapa’s guru Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche without paying requisite fee or completing necessary formalities.

The DRI authorities have written to Palpung Sherubling Monastery, a seat of Rinpoche, for providing necessary information.

“Till date, we neither have received responses from the Monastery nor have been provided with relevant papers of the cars. We have asked Himachal Pradesh Police to impound the vehicle,” a DRI official said.

The vehicle which were brought in the country include Isuzu Trooper and Land Rover.The case has been registered under Section 207 of the Motor Vehicles Act which authorises the police to seize or detain a vehicle in case it is not being used in the prescribed manner.

When contacted, Situ Rinpoche’s office said, “the issue is now between the government of Bhutan and the Ministry of External Affairs, government of India. The MEA has written to the Himachal government to settle the issue”. 

As per the procedure, one has to pay 100 per cent import duty while bringing in any foreign-make vehicle or get an exemption certificate from the Finance Ministry in case the vehicle are being gifted or being brought in with other related purposes. Monastery officials, however, said that the vehicles were given as a gift to the Tibetan leader by the Royal grandmother of Bhutan.

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