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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Tribunal gives singer Adnan Sami relief in FEMA case

ED had also imposed a penalty of Rs 20 lakh on Sami, who was granted Indian citizenship in January 2016. Foreign nationals are required to seek RBI’s permission to buy property in India.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2019 04:17 IST
Neeraj Chauhan
Neeraj Chauhan
New Delhi
Singer Adnan Sami interacts with local artists.
Singer Adnan Sami interacts with local artists. (HT FILE)
         

An appellate tribunal in New Delhi has set aside confiscation of singer Adnan Sami’s eight flats and five parking spaces in Mumbai in 2010, saying no foreign exchange was involved in their purchase.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized the properties saying Sami acquired them in 2003 without Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s permission in violation of Foreign Exchange Management Regulations for acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India. The permission, the ED said, was required as Sami was a Pakistani national at the time. The ED had also imposed a penalty of Rs 20 lakh on Sami, who was granted Indian citizenship in January 2016. Foreign nationals are required to seek RBI’s permission to buy property in India.

“Admittedly, in the present case, no foreign exchange is involved and concomitantly, there has been no loss of foreign exchange as the entire sale consideration has been paid by way of a loan and income which has not only been generated in India, but the tax which has so accrued on such income has also been paid by the appellant [Sami] herein,” said the tribunal’s chairman, Justice Manmohan Singh, in his order on September 12.

But the tribunal increased the penalty on Sami to Rs 50 lakh for acquiring the properties without RBI’s permission. He will now have to pay Rs 40 lakh within 3 months as he had paid Rs 10 lakh earlier. Days before the flats were attached, Sami had approached the RBI for ex-post facto sanction for the properties he acquired.

Sami said he was very emotional as he got this victory on the day of his wife Roya Faryabi’s birthday and that made it even more special. “It has been a big struggle of nine years. I am ecstatic about the fact that being an Indian justice finally prevailed. Whatever I earned with my blood, sweat, and tears, I have finally got them all back,” Sami said. Sami’s lawyer, Charul Sarin, said the tribunal has come to the conclusion that confiscation of the properties was not justified as there was no violation.

ED director, Sanjay Kumar Mishra, did not respond to HT’s request for comment.

The tribunal criticised the ED’s probe on the basis of statements of bank officials and representatives of a real estate company in 2010 saying they were unaware of Sami’s Pakistani nationality.

The officials helped Sami get a loan to buy the flats.

First Published: Sep 17, 2019 04:17 IST

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