No clean chit to Karmapa in cash row yet: Dhumal (Second Lead)

February 12th, 2011 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, Feb 12 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Saturday said Tibetan religious leader Karmapa has not yet been given a clean chit following the recovery of unaccounted money from his monastery, and added that the government had not made any accusations against him either.Investigations are still on into the nearly Rs.70 million worth of foreign and Indian currency recovered from Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s monastery, the chief minister said.

Dhumal’s remarks came a day after Chief Secretary Rajwant Sandhu gave the 17th Karmapa a clean chit, saying he had no involvement in the financial irregularities.

“Neither have we held him guilty nor given him a clean chit. Investigations are still on,” Dhumal told reporters in Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama.

“Central and state investigating agencies are conducting the probe. Once the probe is complete, we will be in a position to comment,” he said.

“The central agencies (including the enforcement directorate) are probing into the recovery of huge foreign currency. The state has never made any accusation against him and the question of giving clean chit does not arise,” Dhumal added.

Police Jan 28 recovered foreign and Indian currency from the Karmapa’s Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery, near Dharamsala.

The chief minister said the chief secretary’s remarks might have been quoted out of context by the media.

“Huge unaccounted currency, including foreign, was seized from the monastery. Police are on the job to establish link between the people arrested and the monastery functionaries over the purchase of ‘benami’ properties (in the state).

“They (police) have to find out whether the allegations (of buying properties) against the exiled Tibetans are true. Such things need to be investigated thoroughly,” he said.

“It’s too early to arrive at conclusions as to who is guilty and who is not,” the chief minister added.

Sandhu, during a media briefing on the state’s developmental projects said Friday: “There is no involvement of the Karmapa (in any financial irregularities). We have reasons to believe that some donations came for the monastery and the Karmapa has nothing to do with that.”

“The Karmapa is a religious head and has followers across the world. We respect their religious activities. We don’t interfere in any religious affairs,” she said.

The chief secretary, however, said police were still investigating where the seized currency — the bulk of it in Chinese yuan — came from, its origin and for what purpose it was kept.

Seven people, including the Karmapa’s aide Rubgi Chosang, also known as Shakti Lama, are in police custody.

Police still believe the seized money was meant for some “illegal” land deal in Dharamsala with the involvement of Shakti Lama.

Director General of Police D.S. Manhas said: “The case is still under investigation. We will soon complete the investigation and file the challan in the appropriate court.”

Interestingly, soon after the chief secretary’s “clean chit” remark, the Karmapa’s office posted a statement saying: “We are grateful to the Indian authorities for investigating the case thoroughly and bringing the truth to the forefront. We are glad the investigation has put to rest the unfounded rumours that had been circulating.”

The Karmapa fled Tibet and sought refuge in India in January 2000. Since then, he has mostly lived at the monastery in Sidhbari near Dharamsala.

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