Saif Ali Khan questioned by Enforcement Directorate
In a case dating back to 2004, actor Saif Ali Khan was called upon by the enforcement directorate on Saturday. The issue involved the misusing the transfer of residence (TR) rule.
In 2004, Saif had bought a Toyota Land Cruiser from Dubai. However the car was brought to India under the name of Kerala resident Kolangara Mohammad.
He was called in around 11.30 am at the directorate’s Nariman Point office, in Mumbai. They questioned him for close to four hours under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
The customs department which was initially looking into the case maintained that with his merge income, it was impossible for Kolangara to buy the car. It was found by the agency that the transfer of residence rules had been deeply misused in this case.
In 2006, the Enforcement Directorate was roped in, who found that a large sum of money had been withdrawn by Saif from his bank account in Mumbai to make the payment. However the actual payment was made in Dubai.
The TR scheme has been grossly misused by brokers for their benefit. The rule says ‘a person of Indian origin can import his personal assets free of customs duty for his own use in India after staying abroad for a period of two years.’
In the 1990’s and later on, the high-end international branded cars were not easily available in India. However, they were much in demand by wealthy people and film stars. The modus operandi of the brokers was to get in touch with a person working in Gulf countries as labor. Then once the payment for the vehicle has been made in their name, they would have to move to India. These labors used to get a commission for that. When back in India the vehicle is transferred to the person who had made the actual payment. In this case Saif Ali Khan.
Kolangara in his statement to the Enforcement Directorate said that he hasn’t visited Dubai since 1994, thought the car was purchased much later in 2004.
When Saif was contacted afterwards, he said he was unhappy with the dishonesty of the broker. He said “I got involved in the case unknowingly.” He further added, “We have learnt the lesson, and it will not be repeated.” He did not want to divulge anything more as the case was still under investigation.