Udayavni Special

Dalai Lama’s security being tightened after detention of two persons: Himachal CM

PTI, Aug 25, 2020, 11:14 AM IST

New Delhi: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama’s security is being tightened following the detention of two persons who were allegedly tracking his movement on the directions of Chinese national Charlie Peng, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Monday.

Charlie Peng was earlier booked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for allegedly running a money-laundering racket. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had detained him.

He is allegedly holding a fake Indian passport and officials had said he created a “web of sham companies to launder hawala funds to and from China” in the past two-three years.

Thakur said a Chinese woman, Lan Hoo, and another person, identified as Sonu Bangtoo, were detained by Himachal Police for their alleged links with Charlie Peng.

It is yet not clear whether Bangtoo is a Chinese national or a Tibetan refugee but it has been established that money has been transferred into their account by Charlie Peng through SK Traders company for tracking the movement of the Dalai Lama and providing him related information, he added.

Both of them have been detained, he said, adding the intelligence bureau and other agencies are questioning both of them.

The chief minister said he had directed the state police to further strengthen the Dalai Lama’s security and instructed them to be more vigilant and cautious in Dharamshala where his residence is located.

The Tibetan ‘government-in-exile’ is based in Dharamshala. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had registered the money laundering case against Charlie Peng for allegedly running a hawala racket worth an estimated Rs 1,000 crore using shell or dubious firms.

Officials had said 42-year-old Charlie Peng, alias Luo Sang, and some of his alleged associates, including Indians, and bankers were raided by the Income Tax Department on August 12.

The taxman had searched at least two dozen premises, including that of Peng in Gurgaon.

The agencies were also probing allegations if Peng was “bribing” some Tibetans living in Delhi.

The ED had taken cognisance of the tax department evidence and action and a Delhi Police Special Cell FIR against Peng before filing the criminal case of money laundering against him, officials had said.

They alleged his front or showcase business was import and export of medical and electronic goods and some other items.

Peng, the sources said, was arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in September, 2018 on charges of fraud and forgery and was allegedly running an illegal money changer.

It is alleged that Peng got a fake Indian passport from Manipur after marrying a woman from that state and some fake Aadhaar cards were also recovered during the raids against him.

“Search action revealed that at the behest of Chinese individuals, more than 40 bank accounts were created in various dummy entities, entering into credits of more than Rs 1,000 crore over the period,” the CBDT had said.

“Incriminating documents of hawala transactions and money laundering with the active involvement of bank employees and Chartered Accountants have been found as a result of the search action,” it said.

Evidence of foreign hawala transactions involving Hong Kong and US dollars have also been unearthed, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had said.

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