Tibetan religious head and 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has been made an accused in the seizure of unaccounted foreign currency last year from a Himachal Pradesh monastery where he is residing, police said here on Monday.
“During the course of investigation, the police came to the conclusion that the Karmapa had a role in the currency row,” Himachal Pradesh director general of police DS Manhas told reporters.
He said the Karmapa’s name was included in the chargesheet as an accused. He is the 10th accused named in the formal set of charges.
Police filed the chargesheet in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajesh Tomar in Una town last month on the seizure of foreign and Indian currency worth Rs 70 million (USD 1.5 million) from the Gyuto Tantric Monastic University on the outskirts of Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
The Karmapa’s office said that he had no involvement, direct or indirect, in the financial administration of the office.
Manhas, who was briefing the media on police’s achievements in the last year, said “since the Karmapa was heading the (Karmae Garchen) Trust, all financial transactions being carried out by the trust relating to land purchase were in his knowledge”.
Clarifying on including his name in the list of accused at a later stage, Manhas said: “Investigation is an evolving process. During the probe, the police generally come to know about the role of some others (against whom the case is not registered initially). In this case too, his (Karmapa’s) role was linked with the land deal and the case later.”
Manhas, however, refused to divulge the details of the case as the matter was awaiting judicial determination.
Investigating officer RR Thakur had said that the Karmapa had been charged under penal provisions related to conspiracy and seizure of unaccounted money.
Police on January 28 last year recovered currencies of 26 countries, including 120,197 Chinese yuan and around Rs 5.3 million in Indian currency, from the monastery.
It was after the seizure of Rs 1 crore meant for land purchase that police conducted searches at the monastery and recovered the currency.
“The Karmapa office of administration has provided the authorities with complete details and documents pertaining to the case. We will offer our full cooperation and assistance in future too,” said Karmapa’s spokesperson Karma Chungyalpa.
He said, “At no point of time the Karmapa was ever called or examined by the investigating agency.”