Karmapa money trail: Dalai Lama backs probe into 'possible negligence'

Dharamsala, Bangalore: With the Karmapa money trail and its suspected links to China casting a shadow over the Tibetan religious leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama today came out in support of a "thorough investigation" into the incident.

But the Tibetan spiritual head was cautious, claiming that the cash recovered from the Karmapa's accountant could have been a result of negligence.

"Karmapa has many devotees including from China...some money would have naturally been received by him...there has been some negligence...better now have a thorough investigation", Dalai Lama said.

The Karmapa, meanwhile, was subjected to a second round of questioning today by a team of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials at the Gyoto Monastery at Sidhbari.

The third-ranked spiritual leader feigned complete ignorance about the foreign currency and other documents recovered from there.

According to sources, the probe agencies are focusing on two crucial aspects.

First up, why was there so much contact with China. The suspicion is based on the fact that Beijing never really opposed the 25-year-old Karmapa who turned up mysteriously in India in the winter of 2000, saying he had fled Chinese harassment.

The second line of investigation is property which is what the cash was meant for, according to Karmapa's supporters.

The police had earlier in the day arrested an hotelier in Dharamsala named K P Bhardawaj in connection with the seizure of foreign currency worth over Rs 7.5 crore from the offices of a trust backed by the Karmapa who is suspected of planning to set up China-friendly institutions across the Himalayan region. (Read: Police detain hotelier in Dharamsala)

Speaking to NDTV, K G Kapoor, Assistant Superintendent of Police of Una said, "He (hotelier) has told that the accounting section is responsible for money matters and Karmapa has no role to play."

A spokesman for the Karmapa denied any Chinese links and described the allegation against him and his administration as "grossly speculative and without foundation".

The Karmapa's office says every single penny they received came through donations and is well accounted for. But it's the Foreign Currency Regulation Act (FCRA) which is restricting the monastery from depositing the foreign currency in banks.