Cash controversy: Karmapa questioned, misses prayer meeting

Saturday, January 29, 2011

DHARAMSALA - Tibetan religious leader Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has been questioned by the Himachal Pradesh police and other central government agencies with his office in the middle of a controversy following the recovery of foreign and Indian currency worth nearly Rs.70 million (Rs.7 crore) in the last two days.

The Karmapa, police sources said, was questioned late Friday night at his monastery at Sidhbari, 10 km from here. His statement is likely to be recorded by the police Saturday.

With the developments of the last two days bringing his office into a major cash controversy, the Karmapa, who is the 17th reincarnation of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Budhhism and the third highest ranked monk after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, missed the Saturday morning prayers and public audience.

With the Gyuto Tantric monastery, where he has been residing in the last few years with his followers, swarming with police officials, the Karmapa has been confined to his rooms on the top floor even though the authorities are not officially saying that he is under house arrest.

Police and other security agencies had recovered foreign and Indian currency, amounting to nearly Rs.70 million from the monastery.

“The foreign currency is from 25 different countries and includes large amounts of US dollars, Chinese Yuan, Hong Kong dollars, Taiwanese and other currencies,” Himachal Pradesh Director General of Police D.S. Manhas said.

The Karmapa’s office, in a statement said, they were “complying fully with the investigation”.

“Our lineage and His Holiness the Karmapa enjoy the love, trust and faith of millions across the world. We have a rich history of public service made possible through financial dealings that are entirely transparent,” the Karmapa Office of Administration aid in the statement.

“We will certainly answer all questions that the press and the public have, but for now we respectfully request you to allow us to concentrate on complying fully with the investigation that is underway,” it added.

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