Rs 3.5 cr seized in raid on Karmapa monastery

Jan 28, 2011

Category: Police Raid Jan 2011

The police on Thursday seized foreign and Indian currency worth more than Rs 3.5 crore, stuffed in four large suitcases, from a room inside the Gyuto Monastery complex — the seat of Tibetan spiritual leader Karmapa — in Dharamshala.

The police said they arrested a person, identified as Shakti Lama, who sources said was a close aide of the Karmapa. The Karmapa was present in the monastery during the raid.

Thursday’s raid came a day after Rs 1 crore cash was recovered from two persons whose vehicle was intercepted on a tip-off at Mehatpur barrier bordering Una district. The cash was allegedly being brought to the state to clear some payments in connection with a land deal in Dharamshala, also involving a Tibetan institution.

Director General of Police D S Manhas said, “We suspect the entire currency was brought to the state illegally, possibly through hawala routes. Investigations are being carried out with the help of top central agencies. Our teams have already left for four places, including Delhi, Chandigarh, Ambala and Dharamshala.”

The money, which included $600,000 and currencies of nearly a dozen countries, was still being counted at the filing of this report. The support of Income Tax and bank officials have been sought, sources said.

Karmapa’s office did not respond to repeated calls during the day while Tibetan government-in-exile and Holiness Dalai Lama’s office also refused to go on record on the raids. DGP Manhas said the police have nothing to say about the institution. “We are only concerned about the illegal cash recovered after searches.”

Inquiries from the Tibetan government-in-exile, however, reveals that Gyuto monastery was in the process of buying some land at Sidhabari to build a complex. “For this, the Himachal Pradesh government was also approached to get clearances,” said a Tibetan official.

Additional Director General of Police S R Mardi earlier said that, according to information available, the two arrested in Una were carrying cash from Delhi meant for payments against a recent land deal in Dharamshala. The police also recovered a fake bank guarantee from their possession.



Karmapa Symposium

Thaye Dorje Urgyen Dorje

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