Rahat mulls legal action against Indian officials

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who was arrested at the Delhi airport for carrying undeclared foreign currency, is contemplating legal action against the Indian authorities for allegedly confiscating his money.

Rahat was arrested at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport Feb 13 for carrying undeclared foreign currency worth more than $124,000. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) investigated him for more than a week before returning his passport and fining him and his manager Rs.1.5 million each.

“To get back the confiscated amount is my right. It can’t be taken away from me,” he said at a press conference Wednesday evening in Lahore, capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

“I am taking legal advice and also discussing the issue with my friends,” Rahat, who returned to Pakistan, said. “The decision to take legal course will be taken accordingly.”

“I have also paid the fine of Rs.1.5 million from my own pocket,” he said.

“This was a case of Customs Act and I did not know about this earlier,” he said, adding that “all transaction of the money earned in India earlier was from bank to bank”. “This is the first time that I was paid in cash,” he claimed.

“I have fully cooperated during the investigation and have no complaints against the authorities,” he said.

“During this troubled time, the Indian government and particularly Indian film director Mahesh Bhatt supported me a lot,” he recalled.

Rahat said he also found a lot of love from the Indian public during his visits.

“There are all kinds of people everywhere but my experience has been good,” he said while urging other Pakistani artistes working in India “to remain aware of the government laws and respect them”.

Rahat, the nephew of legendary singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, is popular both in India and Pakistan. Several of his hit songs from Indian films are a rage on both sides of the border, for which he has won several awards, including the recent Filmfare award for “Dil to Bachcha Hai Jee”.

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