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Himachal govt drops charges against Karmapa

In a relief to Tibetan religious leader Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the Himachal Pradesh government has decided to drop his name from the charge sheet in the foreign and Indian currency recovery case. Rajesh Sharma reports.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2012 19:25 IST
Rajesh Sharma
Rajesh Sharma
Hindustan Times

The office of the Una district magistrate today received a letter from the principal secretary (Home), government of Himachal Pradesh, conveying the decision of the state government to withdraw the criminal case pending in an Una court against the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. The decision of the government has been conveyed to the district attorney, who will pursue the case for withdrawal.

The trials for the case began on 6 March this year in the court of Kanika Chawla, Judicial Magistrate (First Class) against the Tibetan Spiritual leader under section 120-B for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy besides nine other persons.

It is learnt that while the government has only decided to withdraw the name of Karmapa from the list of accused in the case, the other nine accused persons will however face the trial under sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471, 489-C and 120-B IPC, which pertain mainly to laundering of money. The 17th Karmapa and the controversies

It may be recalled that the criminal case has its history dating back to 26 January 2011 when the Una police seized one crore rupees from a Special Utility Vehicle at the Mehatpur inter-state barrier. Investigations revealed that the cash was to be paid as Ernest money by the Dharamsala based Tibetan Karmae Garchen Trust to one KP Bhardwaj for purchase of prime land in Sidhbari near Dharamsala and the latter’s close aide, DK Dhar, 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 the Dharamsala based Tibetan Karmae Garchen Trust and the Gyuto Tantric Monastic University at Sidhbari near Dharamsala had revealed unaccounted currency belonging to 26 different countries and exceeding about 5 crore rupees in value.

While the Tibetan Trust maintained that the money was received as donations from Buddhist sympathizers from the world over, 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 Garchen Trust, he was charged under section 120-B IPC for entering into a conspiracy with the other accused persons.

It may be mentioned that on 21 February 2012, the Karmapa had given a request letter to the Una District Magistrate for removal of his name from the list of accused. The letter was forwarded by the DM to the government on 26 February, to which the reply was received today.

It is reliably learnt that as per the communication, the name of the Karmapa has been recommended for withdrawal from prosecution ‘in public interest and administration of Justice under section 321 CrPC’ since the Karmapa was an internationally respected religious leader and a prominent person, having influence on his followers in all parts of the world. Further that the Karmapa is worshiped by Tibetans as the ‘Holy guru’ and he is likely to succeed the Dalai Lama, who has been granted political assylum by the government of India.


First Published: Apr 24, 2012 12:21 IST