Pak thanks PC for Rahat's release

Pak thanks PC for Rahat's release

Singers visa to be extended to facilitate stay in India for further investigation

 To facilitate Rahat’s stay in India in order to cooperate with the DRI officials in the probe, New Delhi on Tuesday initiated the process of extending his visa, which has already expired.

“His (Rahat’s) visa has expired. It will be extended,” said Home Secretary G K Pillai, hours after Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik called up his Indian counterpart P Chidambaram to thank him for the release of the eminent singer on Monday.

Malik is understood to have assured Chidambaram that Rahat would cooperate with the DRI officials in the investigation.

Rahat, a citizen of Pakistan, his manager Maroof and Mumbai-based event manager Chitresh Srivastava were detained at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday, after the DRI officials found them travelling with huge amount of money in undeclared foreign currency — just before they were about to board an Emirates flight from Delhi to Lahore via Dubai.

The 37-year-old nephew of qawali maestro Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was returning home with his 20-member troupe after performances in India. They were detained for almost 28 hours and questioned extensively by the DRI sleuths at the agency’s office in New Delhi.

Though Rahat and two others were released late on Monday, the DRI barred the singer from leaving India. He in fact had to leave his passport with the DRI officials. He was asked to come again to the agency’s office for questioning on Thursday.

It was after Islamabad put intense diplomatic pressure on New Delhi that the DRI had set the eminent singer free instead of arresting him, although his explanations about the money recovered from him could not convince the officials of the agency.

Indian laws allow up to $5,000 in cash or $10,000 in Traveler’s Cheques to be taken abroad.

The DRI sleuths had found $50,000 from Rahat’s checked-in baggage and $24,000 from his hand baggage. He was allegedly carrying Rs 60,000 in Pakistani currency, while his manager possessed $50,000. The DRI officials also recovered bank drafts worth $10,000 and $8,646 from him.

Rahat, who won this year’s Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song “Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji” from the film Ishqiya, is understood to have told the DRI officials that he had dropped out from school and had not been educated enough to understand the nitty-gritty of the laws related to travelling with foreign currency. The sleuths are not yet convinced though.

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