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Land deals could trigger fresh trouble for Karmapa

At least two big land deals — one at Rakkar and the other at Trilokpur in Jawali area of Kangra district — entered into by the trust of 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje may trigger fresh troubles.

Central,state agencies compiling a list of ‘benami’ properties which have links with Gyuto Monastery

At least two big land deals — one at Rakkar (Sidhbari) and the other at Trilokpur in Jawali area of Kangra district — entered into by the trust of 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje may trigger fresh troubles for the Tibetan spiritual leader. Central and state agencies have spent the past three days compiling a list of ‘benami’ properties which have links with the Gyuto Monastery.

Enquiries by The Indian Express have found that teams from the Enforcement Directorate (ED),Research and Analysis Wing (RAW),Income-Tax,Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the state CID have identified at least half a dozen properties,particularly lands linked to the Karmapa’s trust,within and outside Himachal. The exercise followed the recovery of foreign currency worth Rs 7.05 crore from the monastery.

The list of these properties and some aborted land deals,including a few abandoned after reports of the seizure,on Wednesday reached different wings of the Union Ministries of Home and External Affairs,sources said.

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The land measuring over 24 kanals at Sidhbari has already put the Karmapa in a soup. The documents recovered by the state police and ED,from the monastery and Dharamsala-based property dealer K P Bhardwaj — reveal that the deal violated Section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act,which debars non-Himachalis,including foreigners or NRIs,from buying any land in the state except in a case when approval has been granted by the state Cabinet.

According to Deputy Commissioner,Kangra,R S Gupta,though monastery officials had submitted an application to his office showing intentions to buy land near Sidhbari,it was not cleared. “I had forwarded their application to the state government for advise and action,” he added.

This contradicts monastery claims that the land deal with Bhardwaj was entered after approvals from the state agencies concerned.

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The second property in question at Jawali in the name of Sewa Devi Negi,bought three years back,is already under litigation. A monastery stands on the land. Negi,who hails from Kinnaur,claimed to have obtained Rs 80 lakh from the trust to buy the land. She subsequently donated it to the Karmapa’s trust.

There are two other land transactions at Sidhbari and Trilokpur,which were aborted after ED and Intelligence agencies informed top government agencies. Some reports also suggest similar deals in Kullu,Kinnaur and Mandi districts. Monastery officials refused to comment on the list but admitted about efforts to buy land at Sidhbari with the help of Bhardwaj.

First published on: 03-02-2011 at 10:48:46 pm
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