Himachal Pradesh Police probe ‘links’ in Chinese hawala scam
24 Aug 2020

After the recent arrest of a Chinese businessman by the Income Tax authorities for money laundering, the Himachal Pradesh Police said it is also conducting investigations as “possible links” have emerged in the State.

The businessman at the centre of the scam, identified as Charlie Peng, 43, alias Luo Sang, was arrested by the Delhi police in 2018 for cheating and living in New Delhi on a forged Indian passport. Peng crossed over to India from Nepal in 2013. After his arrest, he spent a brief period in jail and was now out on bail.

Security agencies suspect that Peng was allegedly bribing some Tibetan monks in Delhi to get information on the Dalai Lama.

Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh is the headquarters of the Dalai Lama’s office.

On August 11, the IT department said in a press statement that a “few Chinese individuals and their Indian associates were involved in money laundering and hawala transactions through a series of shell entities”. Only Peng has been arrested in the case so far.

Himachal’s DGP Sanjay Kundu told The Hindu, “We are investigating as possible links of hawala transactions have emerged here also. There will be a clarity in a couple of days.”

Another police official said a few monks have been detained and are being questioned but language is a barrier.

The crackdown against the Chinese hawala racket comes in the wake of transgressions by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Eastern Ladakh. China has occupied positions within India’s perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since April-May and has refused to go back.

After the Dalai Lama’s flight to India from Tibet in 1959, the Indian government gave assistance to Tibetans for a temporary settlement. In 2015, the Modi government came out with a new policy for the Tibetan refugees and sanctioned a scheme of providing grant-in-aid of ₹40 crore to the Dalai Lama’s Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC) for five years.

A senior government official said Peng was communicating with the monks on We Chat, a secure Chinese messaging platform that was banned recently.

The office staff of Peng have reportedly admitted to delivering packets of money to some monks at Majnu Ka Tila in Delhi, a Tibetan settlement.

The Dalai Lama’s office said in a statement to The Hindu the “Chinese spy” Charlie Peng’s involvement in forging documents and hawala rackets in India is dangerous and alarming and at this difficult time of the pandemic, China should pay more attention to contain the domestic health and economic issues, rather than sending spies to India and creating problems at India’s borders.

By Vijaita Singh, The Hindu, 23 August 2020

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