Pakistani singer Rahat Fatah Ali Khan, who was briefly detained in India for possessing foreign currency, today said he will visit the country again if "respectfully" invited, even as he admitted guilt and claimed he was 'unaware' of Indian custom laws.
Khan dismissed the impression that he was made a target in India. Khan who returned to Pakistan today following a brief detention in India on charges of possessing undeclared foreign currency, said he would travel to India again if he was invited in an honourable manner. He admitted that he was guilty of the charges levelled against him but said at the same time that he was not aware of Indian laws regarding the possession of foreign currency.
Asked if he would visit India again, Khan replied: "I will go to India if they respectfully call me." Khan made the remarks while talking to the media after his return. The nephew of late qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan thanked Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Pakistan's High Commission in India Shahid Malik for helping in his release. Replying to another question, he dismissed the impression that he was made a target in India. He dismissed the impression that he was made a target in India like Adnan Sami, another singer of Pakistani origin.
The 37-year-old singer was detained at Indira Gandhi International Airport yesterday on the charge that he was carrying US $ 1,24,000 that he had not declared. Rahat and his entire troupe, numbering around 16, including his manager Maroof and event manager were detained and their interrogation were underway several hours after they were held by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials.
He won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer this year for 'Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji' from the movie 'Ishqiya'.
The Foreign Currency was not declared to Customs officials after the immigration checks. The troupe was on in its way to Lahore via Dubai by an Emirates flight. The recovered foreign currency included US $ 10,000 and US $ 8,600 in demand drafts and some Traveller Cheques.
On February 19, Khan was slapped with charges under FEMA and Customs Act in connection with recovery of huge undeclared foreign currency. Rahat and his manager Maroof each paid Rs 15 lakh as a penalty. The amount was paid to the Indian Customs department after the matter was adjudicated. The undeclared foreign currency however remains confiscated. Pakistan had asked India to immediately release Khan, detained in New Delhi. Pakistan Foreign Office was closely monitoring Khan's case and the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi had set up a special team to liaise with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, which had detained the singer.
As per norms, a foreign national cannot carry more than US $ 5,000 in cash and the same amount in other instruments.