It is a claim that could turn Tibetan history on its head. If the Himachal Pradesh government is to be believed, controversial Tibetan Buddhist leader, the 17th Karmapa, is the likely successor of the Dalai Lama.
The 14th Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile in India, has himself not mentioned any succession plans and there is no precedent for the Karmapa being chosen as the Dalai Lama in the history of the two institutions that go back several hundred years.
But a letter sent by the Himachal home secretary to the Una deputy commissioner suggests that the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is "likely" to become the 15th Dalai Lama.
The letter goes on to say that Dorje is worshipped as the "Holy Guru" in the exiled Tibetan community in India.
"It may be noted that Dalai Lama has been given political asylum by government of India and 17th Karmapa, Gylwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the likely successor of Dalai Lama and by this analogy also if the case against co-accused Dorje is not withdrawn and tried in local court at Una, it may certainly entail law and order problems," the five-page letter says.
The Karmapa has been in the news for the wrong reasons. A case related to recovery of foreign currency from Gyoto Tantric monastery in Dharamsala - allegedly meant to buy land - during police raids in January 2011 witnessed several twist and turns, with the police chargesheet naming the Karmapa as co-accused along with nine others.
But the state government has decided to drop the charges against the Karmapa, who heads a Tibetan Buddhism sect called Kagyu.
Hindustan Times has a copy of Himachal principal secretary (home) PC Dhiman's letter directing Una deputy commissioner K Bharti to drop charges against the Karmapa.
"No active participation on part of said Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje was suggested by investigating agency regarding his role in land transaction and the case was weak against him," the letter says, apprising Bharti about the investigation and the law department's opinion that the Karmapa's name be dropped from the chargesheet.
The Karmapas have a long lineage in Tibetan Buddhism, predating the Dalai Lamas by more than two centuries.