The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday questioned actor Saif Ali Khan in connection with the import of a Toyota Land Cruiser by allegedly misusing the transfer of residence (TR) scheme in 2004.
The ED questioned the actor under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema) for four hours from 11.30am at the agency’s Nariman Point office. His statement was recorded.
The ED had found that Saif had paid around Rs 30 lakh for the vehicle and even though the money was withdrawn by a self-cheque here, the payment was made in Dubai from where the vehicle was imported under the TR scheme.
The ED is investigating how the money was paid in Dubai if the same was withdrawn here.
Under the scheme, if a person is shifting back to the country after a two-year stay abroad, he is permitted to bring the car being used by him, but the vehicle cannot be sold for two years.
The TR scheme was widely misused in 1990s when high-end international cars were not easily available in India. Some brokers used to rope in labourers who were working abroad and planning to shift back to import vehicles on their name for a commission. Once brought here, the brokers sold the vehicles to people looking for them.
The Customs had found that the actual importer of the Land Cruiser was shown as one Kolangara Mohammad, a Kerala resident who had meagre source of earning. During questioning, Mohammad had told Customs that he had never visited Dubai post-1994, while the car was imported in 2004.
The Customs roped in the ED after it was found that though the money was withdrawn here, payment was made in Dubai.
When contacted, Saif admitted that he was questioned by the ED. He said that the case pertains to the time when lots of people had bought vehicles through the TR rule. He said that he had trusted a broker, who was dishonest. “I got involved in the case unknowingly,” he said. He added, “We have learnt the lesson, and it will not be repeated.”
About the amount paid, Saif said he does not remember how it was paid. He said it was not right to discuss the case as investigations are on.