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Rahat Fateh Ali released, to report to DRI

Last updated on: February 14, 2011 20:02 IST

Rahat Fateh Ali released, to report to DRI

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Sahim Salim in New Delhi

Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and two of his troupe members were released on Monday evening pending investigations into recovery of foreign exchange case.

They surrendered their passports to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, probing the case.

Rahat and two others -- Maroof and Chitresh Shirivastava -- were asked to appear before the DRI on February 17 again.

The DRI quizzed the famous Pakistani singer for 24 hours for carrying a huge amount of undeclared foreign currency. According to official sources, Khan is most likely to be charged under the Indian Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and Customs Act. 

Khan had been detained at the T3 terminal of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Sunday evening at 3.45 pm along with his 14-member troupe after DRI officials intercepted him and two others with undeclared US $ 1.24 lakh (about Rs 57 lakhs).

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Image: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

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Why Rahat was detained

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Khan was to take the 5 pm Emirates (EK 517) flight to Lahore via Dubai International Airport after performing in India as a part of the Aman Ki Asha campaign, an India-Pakistan peace initiative. It has been learnt that Khan arrived in India on February 3 and performed at seven different locations. A source said that his last performance was three days ago in Jaipur, when he sang at a private wedding. 

DRI officials acted on a tip-off and detained Khan when he was clearing customs. They found US $ 24,000 in Khan's hand baggage and $ 25,000 each on two of his troupe members.

Another $ 50,000 was recovered from his checked in luggage. In addition, Khan also had some Pakistani currency. Legally, Khan is allowed to carry US $ 10,000 -- in cash, bank drafts and traveler's cheques without declaring.

Anything above this has to be declared which Khan or his troupe members did not. As per the law, a similar declaration in a Currency Declaration Form has to be made while entering the country.  


Image: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

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DRI officials also questioning his concert organisers

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According to DRI officials, Khan was questioned till late into the night at the terminal, before being taken to the DRI office. A DRI source said that a two-member team from the Pakistan high commission was in touch with them over the proceedings. There were no comments from the Pakistan high commission or their Indian counterparts over the matter despite repeated attempts. 

"Khan maintains that he had earned the money legally through the various concerts he performed in India. We are trying to ascertain where all he had performed during his stay here and are contacting the various event management companies based in Mumbai and other cities who organised his concerts. We will compare the amounts Khan says he was paid with the organisers. We will take further action after that," a DRI source said. 

Khan has sung several popular Bollywood songs and is the nephew of legendary Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He won the Filmfare Award this year for Best Male Playback Singer for 'Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji' from the movie 'Ishqiya'.


Image: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

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