Govt to acquire land of Karmapa`s Monastery

HP government is now moving to acquire the land of Gyuto Monastery, the transit home of Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje, as the probe into seizure of large amount of foreign currency from the monastery.

Updated: Feb 14, 2011, 19:55 PM IST

Dharamsala: Himachal Pradesh government
is now moving to acquire the land of Gyuto Monastery, the
transit home of Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje, as the probe into
seizure of large amount of foreign currency from the monastery
brought fresh focus on benami deals by the community members.

Officials said that the process of mutation of
`benami` lands in possession of "the Dalai Lama`s
administration" was on since 2006 and the titles of 73 such
properties, including the sprawling premises of Gyuto
Monastery, are being transferred in the name of the

The government had agreed to consider regularisation
of these `benami` properties by vesting the ownership in the
government and further leasing these out to Tibetan
Administration, they said.

The information about these lands on which the Tibetan
"government-in-exile" had raised structures was provided to
the government by Tibetan "administration", official sources

Kangra Deputy Commissioner RS Gupta said that it was a
routine revenue exercise and mutation in 40 cases had already
been done while the title transfer in respect of remaining
lands was in process.

"The Gyuto Monastery complex was one such property
on which the Dalai Lama administration had build the monastery
and the land on which the construction had been done would
vest in the government," he said.

Officials said that the process of "regularising"
these properties has been hastened after foreign currency
worth Rs 7.5 crore belonging to 25 countries including China
was recovered by police from the premises of a Karmapa-backed
trust and some of the trustees.

The raids followed recovery of Rs one crore from two
persons on Mehatpur border on January 25 last, allegedly drawn
from a bank in Delhi for some land deal.

However, Gupta said that there will be no immediate
physical takeover of the property.

The Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act
prohibits purchase of land by any non-agriculturists who are
not bonafide Himachalis.

The Gyuto Monastery land, estimated to be worth Rs
two crore, was registered in 2002 the name of two persons
Dili Ram s/o Ganga Ram and Prem Singh s/o Tashi Norbu.

The Karmapa-backed Karmae Garchan Trust which
maintains the monastery has no title.

Tehsildar (Dharamsala) Naresh Kumar, a senior revenue
officer, said last week he has sent an official communication
to the Gyuto Monastery officials informing them that the
property title would be transferred in the government`s name
on February 15.

The sprawling property at Sidhbari, near Dharamsala,
is spread over an area of over 50 kanalsand worth Rs two

The Trust officials refused to comment on the issue.
In 2006-2007, the then Congress government led by
Virbhadra Singh had granted relief to the Tibetans after being
approached by the central Tibetan administration.

He ordered that if a benami property was being used
by the Dalai Lama`s administration for education or religious
purposes, the Deputy Commissioners would be empowered to give
it on a 30-year lease charging 10 per cent of the property
value as lease money.

However, the sources said that the matter was caught
in legal wranglings.

Benami lands of other Tibetans would not be covered in
the current mutation process.

Police have arrested seven persons in connection with
the foreign currency seizure. These include Shakti Lama, a key
aide of the Karmapa, Dharamsala-based hotelier K P Bharadwaj,
Manager of Ambala branch of Corporation Bank D K Dhar and a
couple -- Karma Thapa and his wife Rinzin.