DRI slaps FEMA on Rahat and manager; probe over

Updated: Feb 19, 2011, 19:49 PM IST

New Delhi: Pakistani Sufi singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and his manager Maroof were today slapped with charges under FEMA and Customs Act in connection with recovery of huge undeclared foreign currency from them at the airport here before they were to board a Dubai flight.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence which detained the duo from Indira Gandhi International Airport on February 13 with allegedly undeclared USD 1.24 lakh (nearly Rs 60 Lakh) and some other instruments too in foreign currency, has completed its probe and sent the matter for adjudication which will be done by the Commissioner Customs (Airports), official sources said.

The duo will be allowed to leave the country after they pay a penalty to be determined by the Commissioner. The foreign exchange will remain confiscated, the sources said.

The investigations against event manager Chitresh Shrivastava, who is also under detention, and two foreign exchange dealers of Mumbai, would continue, the sources said.

The agency had questioned Rahat (37) and Maroof about the money recovered and payments received during their shows in the country and the mode of money transfer.

It had also questioned a number of other persons in the case which included his event managers.

Meanwhile, the agency sleuths had also raided the premises of "Eyeline Telefilm and Events" in Mumbai, owned by Chitresh Shrivastava, elder brother of Bollywood singer Aadesh Shrivastava.

Sources privy to the investigations claimed the sleuths found Rs 51 lakh in cash from the company which was seized besides some documents which could be helpful in the probe being carried out by the DRI.

Rahat and his entire 16-member troupe, including Maroof and the event manager, were detained by the authorities. The troupe was on in its way to Lahore via Dubai. Rahat was quizzed by DRI officials for 10 hours on Thursday.

As per norms, no one can carry beyond USD 5,000 in cash and USD 5,000 in other instruments. A person has to declare the amount if he is carrying more than this to the Customs Department.

According to sources, the payments by an event manager to Rahat were made in Indian currency and US dollars and these people were allegedly found converting the dollars to Indian rupees "through unauthorised channels".

Rahat is rated as a one of the top playback singers of Hindi film industry who has several hit numbers to his credit. He won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer this year for `Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji` from the movie `Ishqiya` and his first Bollywood hit was `Laagi Tumse Mann Ki Lagan` from the film `Paap`.

PTI