The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached three properties that allegedly belonged to a high-ranking Tibetan monk who had come under the scanner of the security agencies after arrest of eight Taiwanese nationals in Himachal Pradesh.
"Three properties - two in the Greater Kailash and one in Chittaranjan Park -that have allegedly been acquired by Karma Lobsang Bhutia, also known as 10th Bo Gankar Rinpoche of Karma Kagyu sect, have been attached provisionally under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The registered value of these properties is around Rs 2 crore but the market value is much higher," a finance ministry official said.
Bhutia had come under the scanner of investigators in June this year after eight Taiwanese nationals were arrested from his monastery in Jogindernagar of Himachal Pradesh. Initially, the police suspected them to be Chinese spies. They were illegally staying in India and working in the monastery. The police also recovered Rs 30 lakh in cash and some foreign currency during the operation.
Due to recovery of the foreign currency, the ED was pitched in to probe the matter under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
But the investigators found that two years back Karma Lobsang was arrested at the IGI airport here with two Nepalese and two Indian passports. After the revelation, the ED initiated a probe under the PMLA also. This probe resulted in attachment of the three properties. The PMLA authority will have to affirm the ED order.
According to sources, Bhutia is considered close to 17th Karmapa Ogyan Trinley Dorje who was chargesheeted in a case of recovery of foreign currency worth Rs 6.5 crore in 2011 but these charges were later dropped.