NEW DELHI: An Indian court on Monday dropped charges in a currency seizure case against a Tibetan spiritual leader who is tipped to take the mantle of the Dalai Lama in the future.
The 26-year old who is the current embodiment of Karmapa Lama, a sacred role in Tibetan Buddhism, was implicated by Indian police in December 2011, following a seizure of $1.4 million from his monastery in the North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh earlier in the year.
However, the charges filed by police in a district court against 10 people including the Karmapa related to a smaller amount of money.
“I am happy that the charges have been laid to rest by the Himachal Pradesh Government and through the judicial procedure of democratic India,” the Karmapa, revered by Tibetan Buddhists as the 17th reincarnation of a 900-year old spirit, said in a statement.
The Karmapa, also known as Ogyen Trinley Dorje, has fought off suggestions by India’s media that he is a Chinese spy since police found the cash, including some Chinese yuan.
His office had maintained that the money came from the thousands of often wealthy followers who have visited the Karmapa every year since he arrived in India.
The Karmapa is close to the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, and both men strongly deny accusations he works for the Chinese. China has also rejected the accusations, which frequently emerge in the Indian media.
After the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa is the most eminent Lama to have fled Chinese rule of Tibet, which Communist forces occupied from 1950. Despite his escape across the Himalayas in 2000, the Karmapa remains recognised by Beijing as the 17th incarnation of his spiritual lineage.