ISLAMABAD: Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has been released by Indian authorities after he was held for allegedly carrying a large amount of undeclared foreign currency. The release of Khan was confirmed by Mohsin Mughal, Hindustan Times Correspondent in talks with Express 24/7.
According to Mughal, Khan and two of his companions were released, but the Pakistani singer’s passport has been held, pending further investigations.
Khan is also barred from leaving India, and is set to appear before the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on February 17.
Pakistani officials prevented from meeting Rahat Fateh
Indian authorities on Monday disallowed Pakistani High Commission officials from meeting detained Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan earlier in the day. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir asked for the immediate release of Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan from Indian custody. He made this demand during a meeting with the Indian high commissioner in Islamabad today.
Bashir also said a two-member body had been formed to keep in touch with Indian authorities over the issue.
Updated from print edition (below)
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan detained in India
Noted Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was detained at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday evening by Revenue Intelligence sleuths for allegedly carrying a huge amount of undeclared foreign currency in violation of local currency laws.
Khan, a classical musician-turned hit Bollywood playback singer, arrived on a flight from Karachi and was intercepted by personnel from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence acting on some prior information, the local media quoted official sources as saying.
They said the singer was carrying a huge amount of foreign currency which he did not declare to the immigration authorities. Two other persons accompanying him have also been detained. Khan is being questioned for the currency which is in excess of $100,000.
The 37-year-old, nephew of singing legend Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, was earlier, too, involved in a controversy when organisers of a concert in Gurgaon filed a police complaint against him in July last year for his failure to turn up for a show.
Khan has several hit numbers to his credit and is this year’s recipient of the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji from the movie Ishqiya.
Meanwhile in Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik phoned High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik and asked him to keep in touch with the Indian authorities investigating Khan.
Shahid Malik will take up the matter with the Indian authorities to solve the issue, according to a spokesperson for the interior ministry.
“The minister directed the envoy to meet New Dehli high-ups and make every possible effort to get the legendary singer released as soon as possible after fulfilling legal requirements,” the spokesperson added.
According to the state-run television, the minister also directed him to keep a tab on the issue and provide legal and consular support to Khan.
It added that the envoy “has also established contact with airport officials and other relevant authorities in India to prepare a strategy in this regard”.
With additional input from wires
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2011.