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Bank accounts of Karmapa backed Trust frozen

Shimla/Dharamsala : Bank accounts of a Trust backed by Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje and its trustees have been frozen in connection with the probe into the seizure of a huge amount of foreign currency from a transit home of the Tibetan spiritual leader.

"It (freezing of bank accounts) is part of the investigation process as bank accounts were being thoroughly screened for money transactions," Inspector General of Police P L Thakur said on Friday. He refused to divulge further details.

Two trustees Gompu Tshering and Tenzin Namgyal have applied for anticipatory bail, while police have arrested seven persons, including Karma Thapa and his wife Rinzin, in the case so far.

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

While the police and Enforcement Directorate sleuths have quizzed Karmapa and his aides in connection with source of foreign currency, including Chinese currency, the investigating agencies claim to have got vital leads about purchase of benami land plots.

Himachal Pradesh has a stringent law that bans purchase of land by any non-agriculturists including bonafide Himachalis without the permission of the government.

The permission for purchase of land in relaxation of Section 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act is given by the government for projects, institution and bonafide Himachalis but the Tibetans, who have a "refugee" status, cannot purchase any land.

Police sources said that some of the deals where land had allegedly been purchased in the name of local people but buyers were not able to disclose the source of money are under scanner and these are suspected to have been purchased by Tibetans.

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

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

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

Police have so far arrested seven persons– Ashutosh and Sanjay Dutt at Una border, Shakti Lama, a key functionary of the Trust, Dharamsala based hotelier K P Bharadwaj and manager of Ambala Branch of Corporation Branch D K Dhar and the Thapa couple.

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