Dharmasala foreign currecy haul: couple arrested

Dharamsala/Shimla (PTI) A couple was today nabbed inconnection with the seizure of huge foreign currency from thetransit home of Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje, raising thenumber of those arrested in the case to seven even as ChiefMinister P K Dhumal hinted at probing benami land deals.

Karma Thapa and his wife Rinzin was charged witharranging the Rs 1 crore seized from Sanjay and Asutosh at Unaborder on January 25.

The couple was picked up from Majnoo-Ka-Tila in Delhiand was being quizzed for the past three days, police said,adding they were formally arrested today.

The money was allegedly being brought to Dharamsalafor purchase of land for monastery and the arrest was madeafter the couple failed to disclose a valid source of thismoney.

The seizure of Rs 1 crore had led to series of raidsat the premises of the trust backed by Karmapa at GyutoMonastery at Sidhbari and foreign currency worth Rs 7.5 crorewas recovered.

A close aide of Karmapa, Shakti Lama was also arrestedin connection with the currency and later two more persons,Dharamsala-based hotelier K P Bharadwaj and manager of Ambalabranch of Corporation Bank D K Dhar were arrested on January30.

With the arrest of the Thapa couple, the total numberof arrests in foreign currency case has risen to seven.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Tibetan leaders consistingof ''speaker'' and ''deputy speaker'' of its ''parliament-in-exile''Penpa Tshering and Dolma Gyari, spokesperson Karma Topden andothers met Dhumal.

Dhumal reportedly disapproved of the candle marchesand processions being taken out by Tibetans and told them thatthese were unwarranted as investigations were alreadyunderway.

He also hinted that all benami land deals would beinvestigated and action would be taken against those,facilitating these illegal deals.

Dhumal''s comments are significant as the investigationagencies have recovered documents about land deals and powerof attorney.

There were allegations that Tibetans had acquiredbenami lands in the name of local people and prices of theselands were so high that it was unlikely that the people onwhose names lands had been registered could have arrange suchamounts.

DGP D S Minhas had also mentioned about some dealswhich were suspected to be benami and under investigation.

Meanwhile, Tibetan leaders said yesterday''s march wasnot in protest against anyone but simply meant to expresssolidarity with the Karmapa whom they respected and hold inhigh esteem.

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