Directions given to State to proceed in accordance with law against the chairman of Karma Garchen Trust

Himachal Pradesh High Court– In a major setback for the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, also the Chairman of the Karma Garchan Trust, Sidhwari (respondent 3) in a currency seizure case; Sureshwar Thakur, J., set aside and quashed the order by the learned Judicial Magistrate 1st Class wherein the application seeking permission for withdrawal from prosecution against respondent 3 was allowed. The Court stated that the ground for withdrawal mentioned in the application by the Assistant Public Prosecutor i.e., respondent 3 is a “Dharam Guru” having an immense following and the successor of His Holiness Dalai Lama, if not accepted would vitiate relation between the Indian Government and the Tibetan Government in exile, does not fall within the domain of the legal principles enshrined for permission being granted to withdraw from prosecution. The Court held that the acceptance of the application under Section 321 of Criminal Procedure Code by the learned Judicial Magistrate on the above said ground has caused immense jolt to the administration of criminal justice.

In the instant case police had intercepted a vehicle at Mehatpur barrier from which Rs 1 crore cash was recovered. Two persons, including the driver, were arrested. During investigation carried out at Gayato Monastery, Sidhwari unaccounted currency of different countries were found which were taken into possession. Further investigation revealed of an illegal land transaction made for Rs 5 crores instead of 2.5 crores. Investigations also revealed that the illegal foreign currency was converted into a sum of Rs 1.21 crores.

On perusal of facts and evidence, the Court observed that the ground mentioned in withdrawal application that the evidence against respondent 3 is scarce cannot be accepted as the role of a criminal conspirator imputed to respondent 3 in the report of the Investigating Officer is a discreet role and gains legal foothold not by direct evidence but by indirect evidence which is portrayed by the fact of him being the chairman of the Karma Garchan Trust in whose favor the property was purchased, thus having knowledge of the land transaction and the tainted money. The Court, while allowing the petition also directed respondents 1 and 2 to proceed according to law against respondent 3. Denzong Nang-Ten Sung-Kyob Tsogpa v. State of H.P., 2015 SCC OnLine HP 1585, decided on 06.07.2015



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