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HindustanTimes Wed,30 Jul 2014

Two years after cash seizure, Karmapa floats another trust

Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times  Shimla, January 21, 2013
First Published: 20:19 IST(21/1/2013) | Last Updated: 00:56 IST(22/1/2013)

The seizure of a large sum of currency from the monastery of 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, had raised many questions. Two years after he was embroiled in the controversy, now Dorje has formed a new trust laden with Indian members.

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The new trust found by Dorje is known as Kun Charitable Trust that comprises of Karma Chugyalpa, deputy general secretary of Tsurphu Labrang, Karmapa's private administration. The other members are Tashi Dengozappa, a retired Indian Administrative Service officer who heads Namgyal Institute of Tibet in Sikkim, Roshan Lal Negi, a resident of Moorang village in tribal Kinnaur district, and Thinley Topgaye, an advocate.

Barring Roshan Lal Negi, all the members of the trust are from Sikkim. The new trust has been formed as the previous, Karmae Garchen Trust, got embroiled in a major controversy after police recovered a large sum of Indian and foreign currencies.

Karmapa OgyenTrinley Dorjee himself headed the Dharamsala-based Karmae Garchen Trust. It was on January 26, 2011, when cops had intercepted a vehicle and recovered Rs. 1 crore from a special utility vehicle at the Mehatpur inter-state barrier. Investigations revealed that the cash was to be paid as earnest money by Karmae Garchen Trust to one KP Bhardwaj for the purchase of a prime land in Sidhbari near Dharamsala and the latter's close aide DK Dhar, the manager of a bank in Ambala, had allegedly faked a transit certificate for the cash from his bank.

The source of this cache was traced to a money exchange agency situated in Majnu Ka Tila, a Tibetan settlement in Delhi. Subsequent raids by the Una police at Tibetan institutions, including Dharamsala-based Tibetan Karmae Garchen Trust and the Gyuto Tantric Monastic University at Sidhbari near Dharamsala, had revealed that the unaccounted currency belonged to 26 countries and exceeded Rs. 5 crore in value.

While the Tibetan trust maintained that the money was received as donations from Buddhist sympathisers from across the world, the police alleged that the money was not accounted for and that the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) were flouted. Since the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, was the main member of the Karmae GarchenTrust, he was charged under section120-B of the Indian Penal Code for entering into a conspiracy with the other accused.

Then Karmapa requested the government for removal of his name from the list of the accused. The state government had immediately reciprocated to the request. The trust being formed by the Karmapa is being seen as a bid to legalise foreign funding. During the raids, the police had recovered Rs. 15 lakh Chinese Yuan which had revived Ogyen Trinley Dorje's Chinese connection.

Ogyen, who heads the parallel sect of the Kagyu Karma sect, made a dramatic escape from Tibet in 1999 and reached Dharamsala, taking the Indian intelligence agencies by surprise. Since then he stays under the watchful eyes of the security agencies at his transit accommodation, Gyoto Tantric monastery.


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