No clue about the cash: Karmapa

Jan 30, 2011

Category: Police Raid Jan 2011

Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, the 17th reincarnation of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism and the third highest ranked monk after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, on Saturday denied knowledge about the Rs7 crore cash recovered from his monastery after being quizzed by the Himachal police.

In reply to a questionnaire submitted to him by the police, the Karmapa said he kept no money with himself, and all the accounts of the monastery are handled by his staff.

He said his staff could give the account of the money the police have recovered from the monastery.Shakti Lama, treasurer of the monastery is on judicial remand while its secretary Gampa Shering Lama is in police custody for interrogation.

The police are also awaiting a word from the Union home ministry for further investigation.

With the developments of the last two days bringing his office into a major cash controversy, the Karmapa missed the Saturday morning prayers and public audience. Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said he would take up the matter with Union home minister P Chidambram next week in Delhi. He said the protocol did not allow the state police to question the Karmapa directly as he was being treated as “a VIP in exile”. Senior officials, however, believe that the Karmapa has received huge funds from China and has been using the funds to help Beijing control the Buddhist monasteries spread in the Ladakh regionin Jammu & Kashmir and the Tawang region in Arunachal Pradesh.

They also did not rule out the possibility of the Karmapa being a representative of the Chinese government to “cater to its interests in the Hill region bordering China”. The enforcement directorate (ED) has reportedly traced the source of money to China. The money was routed from China to Bangkok, then to the US and from there to India.

Asked about the seizure, Karma Chunyappa, deputy general secretary of the Karmapa, asserted that the financial dealings of the monastery were transparent.

“We have a rich history of public service made possible through financial dealings that are entirely transparent. We will certainly answer all the questions that the press and public have but for now we request you to allow us to concentrate and comply fully with the investigations that are underway,” he said. The police claimed to have recovered some documents pertaining to benami properties.

Dharamsala inspector general of police PL Thakur said the cash seized included Rs34 lakh in Indian currency, 10 lakh US dollars and 11 lakh Yuan. Currencies of as many as 23 countries have been recovered during the search, DGP, DS Manhas, who also took stock of the situation said nobody involved in the case would be spared.Sources said police have barricaded the house of Gompa Shering, the secretary of the Karmapa. He was on a tour to Dehradun and had been called back. The house would be searched after his return.

The police said even if the Karmapa was able to explain the source of the money recovered, he might be held liable for violating the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.

—With PTI inputs



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