Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Saturday denied giving a “clean chit” to Tibetan spiritual leader Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, in the matter relating to seizure of foreign currencies — including the Chinese yuan — worth Rs. 6.5 crore from the Gyuto Tantric Monastery.
“We have neither held him guilty of nor given him clean chit, as the central agencies are probing the money recovered from monastery,” Dhumal said, a day after the state’s chief secretary, Rajwant Sandhu, said the Karmapa had nothing to do with money transaction or with “ benami” land deals.
“The central government is probing huge stacks of money found during the raids. We have never made any accusation against him,” Dhumal told HT.
“A clearer picture will only emerge once the investigations into the case are completed,” Dhumal said, adding that media had twisted the chief secretary’s remarks.
Dhumal’s stance, said sources, opened the possibility of the Karmapa being questioned again by the police and central agencies. In the last week of January, police had handed over a set of 25 questions to the Karmapa over the seizure of money from the monastery, his transit home, about six km off Dharamsala.
The raids on the monastery came after the seizure of Rs. 1 crore from two men of Dharamsala hotelier KP Bhardwaj in Una district on January 25. Police said Bhardwaj had claimed that the money recovered from the men was a payment made by the Karmapa’s trust to buy land near Dharamsala.
The Karmapa’s office in a statement issued in January said: “The cash in question under the current investigation by the police is offerings received for charitable purposes from local and international disciples from many different countries wishing to support His Holiness’ various charitable activities. Any suggestion that these offerings were to be used for illegal purposes is libellous.”
With inputs from Agencies