Dharamsala/New Delhi: Police claimed to have seized foreign currency valued at over Rs six crore during raids in the offices of a trust backed by 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje, who investigators believe could be having links
with Chinese authorities.
Himachal Pradesh ADGP (Law and Order) S R Mardi said huge sums of money in currencies of 25 countries including China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the UK, the US, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam and Germany were seized during the raids.
The recovered amount includes 11 lakh in Chinese Yuan, 6 lakh in US dollar and Rs 30 lakh. Officials said law will take its own course in the case.
DGP DS Minhas said lots of land deal documents were also found and probe is on whether these are part of some benami deals. Some travellers cheques were also found.
The Karmapa, who had fled to India on January 5, 2000 from China as a 14-year-old boy, may be questioned if needed, Minhas said. He has been living in Dharamsala ever since.
Although Dorje is widely called the Karmapa, officials said that he is one of the four contenders to the seat of Karmapa. The Dalai Lama had also recognised him as `Karmapa`, a Buddhist seat that carries forward Tibetan activities.
Investigators probing the huge cash haul from the transit home of the Karmapa suspect that he is in regular touch with Chinese authorities, apparently to help Beijing control Buddhist monasteries from Ladakh to Tawang.
Evidence emerging during investigation indicated that the currencies of China, Japan, the US, the UK, Australia, Thailand and several other countries recovered from Gyuto Monastery in Dharamlsala have come from Chinese sources.
Sources said investigators have found that such funds regularly keep coming to the Tibetan religious leader and he could be part of a Chinese design to help Beijing control all Buddhist monasteries located in the Himalayan region beginning
from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
However, Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Pempa Tsering ruled out any Chinese link with the Karmapa. He said "lack of knowledge of law and rules could be behind the keeping of money in huge amount which came through donations".
Sources said Karmapa`s personal secretary Tsering, who is also the secretary of the monastery was called back here from Dehradun. His office and residence have already been sealed by police.
Rabgyal Soshing alias Shakti Lama, a key functionary of the Karma Garchen Trust with main office in Gyato monastery at Sidhbari, 6 km from here, was arrested yesterday by the police and raids were conducted following information
furnished by him.
The raids were conducted following recovery of Rs 1 crore from a vehicle at the Mehatpur barrier by the Una police on Thursday evening and arrest of two persons who provided clues about the source of the money.
Una police conducted the raids at the offices of the Trust at Sidhbari, Majnoo Ka Tila (Delhi), Ambala and some other places with the help of Kangra Police that led to seizure of foreign currencies worth crores of rupees.
Police was trying to verify the sources from where the Tibetan trust received the money as its authorities maintained that it was received through offerings and donations from devotees.
Una police had registered a case under IPC sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120 against Sanjog Dutt and Ashutosh who were travelling in the vehicle in which cash worth Rs 1 crore was being carried from Majnoo Ka Tila to
Sources said the money was to be paid to Dharamsala bases business with whom the Trust had struck a deal for purchasing the land but the vehicle was intercepted and the money could not be paid to the businessman.
The Himachal Police have also informed the Enforcement and Income Tax departments to ascertain whether there was any breach of law.
The police was interrogating Shakti lama and other two arrested persons to find the source from where the money came and also how it was to be spent.