Himachal High Court orders criminal proceedings against Karmapa

DHARAMSALA, Jul 9: Much to the disappointment of the Tibetan people and followers of the His Eminence 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, the Himachal Pradesh High court on Wednesday overturned an earlier order by a lower court to drop charges against him in a three-year old case related to seizure of foreign currency and ordered authorities to open criminal proceedings against him.

The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee. Photo: kagyuoffice.org/
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee. Photo: kagyuoffice.org/

“The impugned order rendered on May 21, 2012, by the judicial magistrate of Una is quashed and set aside,” Justice Sureshwar Thakur said in a 48-page order.

The Judge said the reason given for dropping charges against the 30-yr-old head of Kagyue sect of Tibetan Buddhism was untenable and a huge jolt to the criminal justice system.

“The said ground is legally unworthwhile as well as legally insignificant and it being accorded inappropriate/ unwarranted potency by the judicial magistrate, Una, in allowing the application of the state government under Section 321 of the CrPC, has caused immense jolt to the administration of criminal justice,” The Indian Express quoted Justice Sureshwar Thakur as saying in the judgment.

On January 26, 2011, police seized Rs 1 crore from an SUV at Una in Himachal Pradesh. Probe revealed that the money was for a land deal between Dharamsala-based businessman K P Bharadwaj and and Karma Garchen Trust, run under the Karmapa. Two days later, police searched the Karmapa’s Gyuto monastery on the outskirts of Dharamsala and recovered Rs 5.97 crore in currencies of 26 countries.

Enforcement Directorate (ED), which took over the case, had dropped all charges against the Tibetan religious leader in November 2015 as its investigation into the matter revealed that the Karmapa had no control over donations received by the trust from global devotees.

“The forex seized was donations received from followers. The Karmapa has been cleared of charges, as investigations reveal that he had no control over donations received by the trust,” ED had said while announcing the decision.



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