Indian police have charged the Karmapa Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader, with currency smuggling after they seized about $1.4-million in cash in Dharamsala in northern India, where Tibetans have formed a government-in-exile.
The seizure actually took place in January -- at the time the police claimed the cash comprised at least 24 different currencies.
Reuters reported that a total of ten people were charged in the affair.
Police superintendent Sumedha Dwivedi told Reuters that local authorities seek to file additional charges related to the seized currency. The local district court where the charges were filed will make a decision on whether or not the case will come to trial.
We are awaiting sanction from the central government for prosecuting the accused under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, Dwivedi told Indian media.
As chairman of the trust [the Karmapa] must have knowledge of everything that is going on, that is why he has been included in this.
However, the Karmapa’s supporters insist the money was sent to the monastery in the form of donations from thousands of admirers around the world, BBC reported, and that the money was to be used to purchase land.
The 26-year-old Karmapa is the chief of the Karma Kagyu, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He is regarded as the third most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism, BBC indicated, after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.
However, when the Karmapa’s cash was seized, the Dalai Lama stated that he wanted a thorough investigation regarding the subject.
Indian media outlets have speculated that Karmapa may be a Chinese spy since Chinese Yuan notes were included in the cash found on his property. Both he and the Dalai Lama have denied the allegations.