Bank accounts of Karmapa backed Trust frozen

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Shimla/Dharamsala, Feb 4 (PTI) Bank accounts of aTrust backed by Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje and its trusteeshave been frozen in connection with the probe into the seizureof a huge amount of foreign currency from a transit home ofthe Tibetan spiritual leader.

"It (freezing of bank accounts) is part of theinvestigation process as bank accounts were being thoroughlyscreened for money transactions," Inspector General of PoliceP L Thakur said today. He refused to divulge further details.

Two trustees Gompu Tshering and Tenzin Namgyal haveapplied for anticipatory bail, while police have arrestedseven persons, including Karma Thapa and his wife Rinzin, inthe case so far.

Police had recovered foreign currency worth Rs 7.5crore during raids on the premises of the Karmapa backed Trustat Gyuto Monastery at Sidhbari near Dharamsala after it seizedRs one crore from a vehicle on Una border on January 25 alongwith documents pertaining to land deals.

While the police and Enforcement Directorate sleuthshave quizzed Karmapa and his aides in connection with sourceof foreign currency, including Chinese currency, theinvestigating agencies claim to have got vital leads aboutpurchase of benami land plots.

Himachal Pradesh has a stringent law that banspurchase of land by any non-agriculturists including bonafideHimachalis without the permission of the government.

The permission for purchase of land in relaxation ofSection 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act is given by thegovernment for projects, institution and bonafide Himachalisbut the Tibetans, who have a "refugee" status, cannot purchaseany land.

Police sources said that some of the deals where landhad allegedly been purchased in the name of local people butbuyers were not able to disclose the source of money are underscanner and these are suspected to have been purchased byTibetans.

Chief Minister P K Dhumal has told the Tibetan leadersthat all benami land transactions would be probed and actionwould be taken against those facilitating these "illegal"transactions.

Dhumal also apparently snubbed the Tibetan leaders whocalled on him at Dharamsala yesterday for holding processionsand candlelight marches and said that these were"unwarranted".

News and photographs about previous marches have nowbeen removed from the official website of the Karmapa.

Police have so far arrested seven persons-- Ashutoshand Sanjay Dutt at Una border, Shakti Lama, a key functionaryof the Trust, Dharamsala based hotelier K P Bharadwaj andmanager of Ambala Branch of Corporation BranchD K Dhar and the Thapa couple.

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