Rahat Ali Khan, troupe detained with undeclared 1.24 lakh USD

New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) Noted Pakistani singer RahatFateh Ali Khan was detained at the IGI airport here today byrevenue intelligence sleuths after he and two of his troupemembers were caught allegedly carrying 1.24 lakh USD (about Rs60 lakh) in undeclared foreign currency.

Rahat(37) and his entire troupe, numbering around 16,including his manager Maroof and event manager were detainedand their interrogation were underway tonight several hoursafter they were held by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence(DRI) officials.

A nephew of Pakistani singing legend Ustad Nusrat FatehAli Khan, Rahat is a top Bollywood playback singer and hasseveral hit numbers to his credit. He won the Filmfare Awardfor Best Male Playback Singer this year for ''Dil To BachchaHai Ji'' from the movie ''Ishqiya''.

The Foreign Currency was not declared to Customsofficials after the immigration checks, a DRI official said.

The troupe was on in its way to Lahore via Dubai by anEmirates flight, the official added.

"The DRI officers found altogether 1,24,000 USD which isequivalent to about Rs 60 lakhs. 24,000 USD were found fromthe baggage carried by Rahat while the remaining 50,000 USDeach were found from the baggage of two troupe members,"Central Board of Excise and Customs Chairman S Dutt Majumdarsaid.

The recovered foreign currency included USD 10,000 andUSD 8,600 in demand drafts and some Traveller Cheques, a DRIofficial said.

"Law will take its own course. Rahat and his troupemembers are still being interrogated and depending upon theirstatement and the gravity of the offence we would decidewhether to arrest them or not," Majumdar said.

Khan was intercepted by DRI personnel aroaund 4 PMacting on some prior information, official sources said.

As per norms, a foreign national cannot carry beyondUSD 5,000 USD in cash and 5,000 USD in other instruments. Theperson has to declare the amount if he is carrying more thanthis to the Customs Department.

According to DRI sources, the payments by the eventmanager to Rahat was made in Indian currency and US dollarsand these people were allegedly found converting the dollarsto Indian rupees "through unauthorised channels".

Khan was earlier too involved in a controversy whenorganisers of a concert in Gurgaon filed a police complaintagainst him in July last year for his failure to turn up for ashow.

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