Karmapa asked 50 questions, denies allegations

Sunday, January 30, 2011

DHARAMSALA - Tibetan religious leader, the Karmapa, was asked a set of 50 questions by police Sunday about nearly Rs.70 million worth of unaccounted foreign and Indian currency being found in his monastery. Denying all allegations, he said the money was given by devotees all over the world.

A police team, led by Una’a Additional Superintendent of Police K.G. Kapoor, reached the monastery near here to question the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who was quizzed Friday as well.

“Fifty questions were asked to the Karmapa and he denied all allegations. He said the money recovered was money given by devotees,” Kapoor said. “But we are not happy with his replies and he is likely to be questioned again,” he added.

Also in connection with the controversy, Dharamsala businessman and hotelier K.P. Bhardwaj and D.K. Dhar, manager of the Corporation Bank in Ambala in Haryana, were Sunday brought for interrogation to Una, 100 km from the Karmapa’s monastery, police said.

Inspector General of Police P.L. Thakur had earlier said that through their questions, they would try to ascertain the sources of the money, why such a huge amount was kept at the monastery and whether it was meant for some kind of land deal.

Another police official said the state government had got the green signal from the Union home ministry to pose questions to the Karmapa.

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 (Rs.7 million) in Chinese currency and over 600,000 US dollars.

The presence of Chinese Yuan brought 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 Karmapa late Saturday clarified there was no China link to his activities and 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 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.”

Dharamsala businessman Bhardwaj, who is believed to have struck a land deal with the Karmapa’s trust, and a bank manager from Haryana were arrested and are being questioned.

“Bhardwaj was arrested last (Saturday) evening as an unaccounted Rs.1 crore was seized from two of his men on Jan 25 at Mehatpur in Una district,” Thakur said.

Bhardwaj had claimed that the Rs.1 crore recovered from the men was a payment made by the Karmapa’s trust to buy land near here.

It was after the seizure of this Rs.1 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.

Dhar, the Corporation Bank manager, was also arrested Saturday night for allegedly facilitating a transaction of Rs.1 crore to Bhardwaj. The two were 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.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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