Himachal court summons Karmapa over currency row

17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Shimla : Tibetan religious head and the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has been summoned by a Himachal Pradesh court next month over the seizure of foreign currency worth Rs.70 million (over $1.4 million) from his monastery last year, police said here Thursday.

Officials from the Karmapa’s office based in Dharamsala said the Karmapa is out of station for over a fortnight to preside over the annual activities and therefore has not received the summons.

The chief judicial magistrate of Una has asked the Karmapa and nine others involved in the case to be personally present in the court March 6, Additional Director General of Police S.R. Mardi said .

The charge sheet was filed by police Dec 7, 2011.

The Karmapa has been charged under penal provisions related to conspiracy. The other nine accused included the Karmapa’s aide Rubgi Chosang, also known as Shakti Lama.

Police Jan 28 last year recovered currencies of 26 countries, including 120,197 Chinese yuan and around Rs.5.3 million in Indian currency, from the Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery located on the outskirts of Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

It was after the seizure of Rs.1 crore meant for land purchase that police conducted searches at the monastery and recovered the currency.

Director General of Police D.S. Manhas told reporters in Shimla last month that during the course of investigation, police came to the conclusion that the Karmapa had a role in the currency row.

He said, “Since the Karmapa was heading the (Karmae Garchen) trust, all financial transactions being carried out by the trust relating to land purchase were in his knowledge.”

The Karmapa’s office said in a statement that “from the beginning, His Holiness (the Karmapa) has full trust in the Indian legal system and that he will cooperate and follow due process”.

“One of the three staff members of the Karmapa Office of Administration named in the charge sheet was in Dharamsala and received a summons,” it said.

The 26-year-old Karmapa has been residing in Bodh Gaya in Bihar since late January, presiding over the large number of rituals of his Buddhist order that take place every year.

The Karmapa is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four sects of Tibetan Buddhism. He joined the Dalai Lama in exile in 2000.

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