Pak national moves HC to go home

Pakistan national Rashida Tinwalla has moved Bombay High Court (HC) challenging an order of the directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) and a communication of special branch II denying her request to allow her to travel back despite acquittal in a case of smuggling fake Indian currency.

Lawyer Shyam Keswani said Tinwalla was living hand-to-mouth and sleeping under building staircases in Bohri Mohalla since her release from Byculla prison on September 3, 2012.

He said she had no family or friends in Mumbai and no means of supporting herself.

Karachi-based Tinwalla came to Mumbai on December 21, 2009, for a sermon by a spiritual leader during Moharram. On December 23, 2009, DRI arrested her for allegedly bringing fake Indian currency having a face value of Rs 18 lakh.

In 2010, CBI arrested her.

"She did not apply for bail at the time as she did not have money or lawyer," Keswani told the court Monday.

After she pleaded not guilty, a fast-track court in Sewri tried her with four others. On April 13, 2012, after she had served two-and-a-half years in prison, the court acquitted her of all charges.

However, proceedings were pending against her before a magistrate under Customs Act. Her petition filed in High Court states after acquittal she was in a hurry to go back to Pakistan and hence, pleaded guilty before the magistrate who handed out a two-year-and-eight-month jail sentence.

Since she had already served the sentence as an undertrial, the punishment was waived.

Keswani said her passport was returned by the court after acquittal.

Tinwalla then approached special branch II for an exit permit but was told she had to obtain an NOC from DRI.

DRI refused NOC saying the deputy commissioner of customs had slapped a penalty of Rs 4 lakh on her and she could not leave India without paying the money.

... contd.

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