Friday, February 11, 2011

\'No clean chit to Karmapa as yet\'

Saturday, February 12, 2011,Dharamsala:

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister PK Dhumal on Saturday denied that his government had given a clean chit to Ugyen Trinely Dorji, the 17th Karmapa, in the cash controversy.

State Chief Secretary had yesterday sought to absolve the Karmapa of any wrongdoing in the case of recovery of unaccounted cash worth crores of rupees, including in foreign currency, saying there was no case against the third most important Tibetan religious leader.

However, reports today quoted Dhumal as saying that the Himachal government could not give a clean chit to Karmapa on its own, especially when a Central probe was underway.

Chief Secretary Rajwant Sandhu had told reporters yesterday that the Karmapa had no links with the money seized from his transit home near Dharamsala.

\"The huge foreign currency recovered during raids from the Gyuto Monastery, the transit home of the Karmapa, are donations and offerings from devotees and the Karmapa has no links with it as the affairs of the trust are managed by trustees,\" Sandhu said.

\"The Karmapa is a revered religious leader of the Buddhists and the government has no intentions to interfere in religious affairs of the Buddhists,\" she said, adding there was no question of any action against the Karmapa and also no reason to believe that he has links with the foreign currency seizure to the tune of Rs 7.5 crore from Sidhbari.

When asked whether there was any chance of the Karmapa \"being arrested\" in connection with the seizure, she said there was \"zero\" possibility of any such thing happening.

While the police and the Enforcement Directorate sleuths have quizzed the Karmapa and his aides in connection with source of foreign currency, including Chinese currency, the investigating agencies claim to have got vital leads about purchase of benami land plots.

Referring to alleged \'benami\' land transactions by some Tibetans, Sandhu said all such transactions were being probed and the law would take its own course. Himachal Pradesh has a stringent law that bans purchase of land by non-agriculturists, including bonafide Himachalis, without the permission of the government.

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 in the raids that followed recovery of Rs 1 crore from two persons on Mehatpur border on January 25 last, allegedly drawn from a bank at Majnoo-ka-Tila in Delhi for some land deal.

The Chief Secretary said that it has been established that Rs 1 crore was brought from a bank at Majnoo-ka-Tila but the Karmapa has nothing to do with it.

The police arrested seven persons including one Sanjay Dutt and Ashutosh, who were carrying the cash in the car, 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.

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