Karmapa's aide gets bail in Himachal

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 14:30 hrs

Shimla, March 16 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court Wednesday granted bail to Karmapa's aide Rubgi Chosang, also known as Shakti Lama, along with two other Tibetans.

But the court directed them to appear at the office of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Chandigarh for investigation.

Hearing their bail application, Justice D.D. Sud directed Shakti Lama and the couple - Karma Thapa and his wife Rinzin - to join the investigation and appear at the ED office March 21.

It was after the seizure of Rs.1 crore meant for land purchase that the police Jan 28 conducted searches at the Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery, where the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has been residing for the last few years with his followers.

Police recovered currency of 26 countries, including 120,197 Chinese yuan and around Rs.5.3 million in Indian currency.

Subsequently, police arrested Shakti Lama, an accountant in the monastery, on suspicion that he was involved in some 'illegal' land deal for the monastery.

Later, police also arrested a couple in New Delhi in connection with the seizure of Rs.1 crore from two people that was meant as part-payment by the Karmapa's trust to buy the land.

The couple, Karma Thapa and his wife Rinzin, was charged with arranging money for the monastery.

The Karmapa's office has been saying that all the money recovered from the monastery was donations from followers the world over, including scores who come from Tibet and carry Chinese currency.

A team of the ED officials from Chandigarh, headed by Deputy Director V. Neeraja, also reached the monastery Feb 1 and scanned the account books, ledgers and documents pertaining to financial transactions.

It also questioned the monastery officials on the sources of the money, what purpose it was meant for, why it was unaccounted and why the Indian government was not informed about the foreign currency.

The Karmapa is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four sects of Buddhism. He is considered the third most important Tibetan religious head after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.

The Karmapa fled Tibet and sought refuge in India in January 2000. Ever since, he has mostly lived in the monastery in Sidhbari near Dharamsala - the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.