Actors fined at airport for violating FEM Act

Mumbai: Film and television actor Swapnil Joshi and two others were today detained at the international airport here for over an hour for carrying Indian currency beyond permissible limit while returning from abroad, custom officials said.

They were later allowed to go after they paid penalty and redemption fine, they said. Joshi, along with comedian Vijay Pawar and a lady companion Jyoti Pandey, were intercepted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at around noon after they landed from Bangkok.

"While Joshi and Pawar were found to possess cash of Rs 75,000 each, the lady was carrying Rs 40,000," P M Salim, Commissioner of Customs told PTI. He said as per the Customs Rules, Indian passengers can carry Indian currency only up to Rs 7,500, while returning from abroad.

The three were intercepted while they were walking through green channel, according to officials. They pleaded that they were not aware about the Custom rules. "During the questioning, they revealed that they had attended an event and returning from Bangkok with the cash without having any knowledge about the Customs norms," Salim said.

"Joshi and Pawar paid Redemption Fine (RF) of Rs 10,000 and penalty of Rs 5000 each whereas Pandey paid RF of Rs 5000 and penalty of Rs 5000 after which they were let off. It took over an hour to complete the procedure," Salim said.

Another senior official said that the three were booked under the Customs Act, Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and Baggage Rules. "Such tactic of not declaring the Indian currency earned overseas is usually resorted to evade tax," the official said.

Speaking to PTI, actor Joshi said, "They were not aware of the Customs rules. We all three had gone to attend a wedding where we had performed as well. If we would have known about such rules, we would have never carried Indian currency beyond permission limits."