Rahat, Maroof pay Rs 15 lakh penalty each

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New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh AliKhan and his manager Maroof each paid Rs 15 lakh today by wayof penalty slapped on them in connection with the huge amountof undeclared foreign currency recovered from them.

Official sources said tonight the amount was paid to theCustoms department after the matter was adjudicated. Theundeclared foreign currency however remains confiscated, thesources said.

The sources said the passports were however still in thecustody of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence( DRI) which islikely to hand over the travel documents to the two mentomorrow once they obtain the receipt for the payment of thepenalty. Rahat and maroof are free to leave the country oncethe passports are handed over to them.

The duo were to board a Dubai flight when DRI sleuthsdetained them at Indira Gandhi International Airport here onFebruary 13 with allegedly undeclared amount of USD 1.24 lakh(nearly Rs 60 lakh) in foreign currency.

Official sources said yesterday the duo will be allowedto leave the country once they pay the penalty imposed on themby the Customs Department. The foreign exchange will remainconfiscated, the sources said.

After completing its probe, the DRI has charged themwith violating provisions of the FEMA and Customs Act and sentthe matter for adjudication to Customs, they said.

The Customs department later imposed a penalty of Rs15 lakh on each of them.

The investigations against event manager ChitreshShrivastava, who is under detention, and two foreign exchangedealers of Mumbai, would continue, the sources said.

The DRI had questioned Rahat (37) and Maroof forseveral hours about the money recovered and payments receivedduring their shows in the country and the mode of moneytransfer.

It had also quizzed a number of other persons in thecase which included his event managers.

Rahat and his entire 16-member troupe, includingMaroof and the event manager, were detained by theauthorities. The troupe was on in its way to Lahore via Dubai.

As per rules, no one can carry beyond USD 5,000 incash and USD 5,000 in other instruments. A person has todeclare the amount if he is carrying more than this to theCustoms Department.

According to sources, the payments by an event managerto Rahat were made in Indian currency and US dollars and thesepeople were allegedly found converting the dollars to Indianrupees "through unauthorised channels".

Rahat is rated as a one of the top playback singers ofHindi film industry and has several hit numbers to his credit.

He won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer thisyear for ''Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji'' from the movie ''Ishqiya'' andhis first Bollywood hit was ''Laagi Tumse Mann Ki Lagan'' fromthe film ''Paap''.

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