Karmapa cash row: Hotelier, banker held

Jan 30, 2011

Category: Police Raid Jan 2011

Dharamsala businessman and hotelier KP Bhardwaj, who is believed to have struck a land deal with the Karmapa's trust, and a bank manager from Haryana have been arrested and are being questioned following the recovery of unaccounted foreign and Indian currency worth nearly Rs70 million from the monastery.

"Bhardwaj was arrested last (Saturday) evening as an unaccounted Rs1 crore was seized from two of his men on Jan 25 at Mehatpur in Una district," Inspector General of Police PL Thakur told IANS.

Bhardwaj had claimed that the Rs1 crore recovered from the men was a payment made by the Karmapa's trust to buy land near Dharamsala.

It was after the seizure of this Rs1 crore that the Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery, where the Karmapa has been residing for the last few years with his followers, was raided and huge amounts of foreign and Indian currency recovered.

DK Dhar, manager of the Corporation Bank in Ambala in Haryana, was also arrested Saturday night for allegedly making a transaction of Rs.1 crore to Bhardwaj. The two were on Sunday brought to the police station in Una, some 100 km from the monastery, for questioning.

"Both Bhardwaj and Dhar have been brought to Una for interrogation," said Superintendent of POlice Santosh Patiyal.

A string of central government agencies got into the picture Saturday to get to the bottom of the recovery of unaccounted currency. The most baffling part of the total seizure from the monastery was the 1.1 million (Rs7 mn) of Chinese currency and over 600,000 US dollars.

The presence of Chinese Yuan brought the controversy about the Karmapa's alleged links to China to the fore again. He had arrived mysteriously from his monastery near Lhasa in Tibet region in January 2000.

However, the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who was also questioned by the police officials, late Saturday clarified that there was no China link to his activities and that the foreign currency seized was from disciples from all over the world.

The Karmapa's office, in a statement said: "The cash in question, under current investigation by the police is offerings received for charitable purposes from local and international disciples from many different countries wishing to support His Holiness Karmapa's various charitable activities."



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