Dharamsala, (IANS) Tibetan religious leader, the Karmapa, was asked 50 questions by police Sunday about the nearly Rs.70 million worth of unaccounted foreign and Indian currency recovered from his monastery. Denying all allegations, he said the money was given by his devotees and he had not done anything to harm India's interests.
A Himachal Pradesh police team, led by Una's Additional Superintendent of Police K.G. Kapoor, reached the Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery near here to question the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who was quizzed Friday as well.
"Fifty questions were asked to the Karmapa and he denied all allegations. He said the money recovered was money given by devotees," Kapoor said. "But we are not happy with his replies and he is likely to be questioned again," he added.
In a related development, Dharamsala businessman and hotelier K.P. Bhardwaj and D.K. Dhar, manager of the Corporation Bank in Ambala in Haryana, were Sunday brought for interrogation to Una, 100 km from the Karmapa's monastery.
Soon after the Karmapa was questioned, a spokesperson for the Tibetan religious leader denied allegations against him, stressing he was not a Chinese agent.
"The Karmapa has not done anything wrong to undermine and harm the interests of India," Karma Topden, the spokesperson, told reporters.
"The Karmapa has got offerings from all over the world. The cash was donated money. There is no 'hawala' link to money," he said.
On his China links, Topden clarified: "His very escape from Tibet and arrival in India clearly shows Tibetan people are being suppressed by the Chinese," he said.
He also cited reasons for the Karmapa's escape from Tibet that included the Chinese putting pressure on him to go against Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and completing his spiritual studies.
A string of central government agencies got into the picture Saturday to get to the bottom of the recovery of unaccounted currency. The most baffling part of the total seizure from the monastery was the 1.1 million (Rs.7 million) in Chinese currency and over 600,000 US dollars.
The presence of Chinese Yuan brought controversy about the Karmapa's alleged links to China to the fore again. He had arrived mysteriously from his monastery near Lhasa in the Tibet region in January 2000.
However, the Karmapa late Saturday clarified there was no China link to his activities and the foreign currency seized was from disciples across the world.
Dharamsala businessman Bhardwaj, who is believed to have struck a land deal with the Karmapa's trust, and a bank manager from Haryana were arrested and are being questioned.
"Bhardwaj was arrested last (Saturday) evening as an unaccounted Rs.1 crore was seized from two of his men on Jan 25 at Mehatpur in Una district," Thakur said.
Bhardwaj had claimed that the Rs.1 crore recovered from the men was a payment made by the Karmapa's trust to buy land near here.
It was after the seizure of this Rs.1 crore that the Karmapa's monastery was raided.
Dhar, the Corporation Bank manager, was also arrested Saturday night for allegedly facilitating a transaction of Rs.1 crore to Bhardwaj. The two were Sunday brought to the police station in Una, some 100 km from the monastery, for questioning, said Superintendent of Police Santosh Patiyal.
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.