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HP Police to hand over seized foreign currency to ED

The much-hyped case regarding the seizure of foreign currency amounting to Rs 7.05 crore belonging to 26 foreign countries including China,Japan and Holland from Gyuto Monastery may soon get an inconsequential burial in the Himachal Pradesh Police files.

The much-hyped case regarding the seizure of foreign currency amounting to Rs 7.05 crore belonging to 26 foreign countries including China,Japan and Holland from Gyuto Monastery — the abode of 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje — may soon get an inconsequential burial in the Himachal Pradesh Police files.

Some signs to this end were visible when central agencies gave a clean chit to the Karmapa and later cleared his trip to the US. The Centre has already claimed that cash recovered from the Gyuto Monastery during raids by the police on January 27 and 28 were “offerings and donations by devotees”.

Moreover,last week,a fast track court at Una dismissed state police’s plea against the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) claim over the cash. It directed the police to hand over the currency to the ED officials.

Earlier,the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Una had passed a similar order on the application of the ED,but the police insisted that the cash recovered from the monastery was “case property” and thus cannot be handed over to the ED.

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“Now,when the fast track court has passed the order,we will hand over the currency to the ED. The investigation is already complete and the police does not have anything more to do with the currency. It is not a problem,” said Director General of Police Diljeet Singh. This will exclude the Rs 1 crore,which the Una police had seized on January 26 when it had intercepted a vehicle and also the seized Indian currency. The amount,according to rough estimates,could be Rs 5 to 6 crore.

“We are just waiting for the orders to be issued,” said V Neeraja,Deputy Director (ED) in Chandigarh. Asked about the future course of action,Neeraja added: “We have already done our investigation. If required,we will summon a few people and finally,the report will be sent to the ED headquarters in New Delhi for a final decision.”

The ED is reported to have pointed out in the court that the Una police have not been able to file challans in court even eight months after the FIR was registered and the arrest of the accused.

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Meanwhile in Himachal Pradesh,the police are getting ready to file challan in the court. The police confirms that the Foreign Currency Regulations Act (FCRA),which was proposed to be invoked against the accused,could not be applied as it required approval from the Centre. “Once the challan is filed in the court,we can work on a separate chargesheet on the offences under FCRA,” said the DGP.

An FIR under Sections 419,420,467,468,471,120(B) of the IPC and Section 23 of FCRA was registered after seizure of Rs 1 crore cash from a vehicle. The cash was part of transactions related to some alleged “benami” deals involving the Karmapa’s trust. Subsequent raids at the monastery led to the recovery of more cash,including foreign currency. There are a total of seven accused in the case,including an aide of the Karmapa and Dharamshala-based businessman K P Bhardwaj.

First published on: 15-09-2011 at 03:22:50 am
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