Under the scanner over seizure of foreign currency,including Chinese yuan,from his transit home at Gyuto Monastery,the 17th Karmapa,Ogyen Trinley Dorje,finds himself in further trouble as the district administration is all set to transfer the property title of the monastery in the state governments name.
The monastery has been the Karmapas temporary residence since January 2002. The sprawling property at Sidhbari,near Dharamsala,spread over an area of over 50 kanals and estimated to be worth over Rs 200 crore,was declared as benami land a few years back.
Last week,Tehsildar (Dharamsala) Naresh Kumar,who is also a senior revenue officer,sent an official communication to the Gyuto Monastery officials,informing that the property title would be transferred in the governments name on February 15.
However,Kangra Deputy Commissioner R S Gupta clarified that the action was only a summary revenue proceeding which will be completed on Feburary 15,and there will be no immediate physical takeover of the property.
The Karmapa-backed Karmae Garchan Trust has no title over the monastery,which was built by Dalai Lamas central administration between 2000 to 2002.
The Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act prohibits purchase of land by any non-agriculturists who are not bonafide Himachalis.
As many as 73 benami land deals involving Tibetan refugees and their Trusts are under the scanner of the state and central investigating agencies. The Gyuto Monastery is listed as no 39 to 44 in the list,with the land registered in the name of two persons Dili Ram s/o Ganga Ram and Prem Singh s/o Tashi Norbu. In fact,Prem Singhs name figures in five places,which means that five different land deals were signed in his name. The land sale was registered in 2002.
In 2006-2007,the Congress government led by Virbhadra Singh had granted relief to the Tibetans after being approached by the central Tibetan administration. He ordered that if a benami property was being used by the Dalai Lamas administration for education or religious purposes,the Deputy Commissioners would be empowered to give it on a 30-year lease charging 10 per cent of the property value as lease money.
But,according to officials,when the Gyuto Monastery was declared benami,nobody came forward to contest the orders or seek its lease.
Since nobody came forward to contest the District Collectors orders,or seek its lease during these years,the Tehsildar has acted within his right for forfeiting the property and vesting it with the state government as per the revenue laws, said Gupta.