Dawood frontman gets five year for forex violations


New Delhi : A Delhi court Tuesday sentenced fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's suspected aide in Delhi Romesh Sharma to five years' rigorous imprisonment for illegal foreign exchange deals worth $345,000, equivalent to over Rs.14 million.

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While sentencing Sharma, Additional Chief Metropolitan magistrate Kamini Lau also imposed a fine of Rs.6.1 million.

Sharma, who had hit the headlines in 1999 for illegal possession of a helicopter of a top corporate executive in his farmhouse at Chattarpur in south Delhi, was convicted last week by Lau for various offences under the now-repealed Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA).

The Enforcement Directorate had lodged a complaint in September 1999 against Sharma and his business associate Ajay Nayyar, who jointly run their business establishment, Next One, for having shipped goods worth $345,000 to the US without bothering to collect the money for it from the US consignee.

The Enforcement Directorate complaint said Sharma had no permission of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for delaying collecting the money for the exported goods beyond the permitted limits.

The court framed charges against him in September 2001.

During the trial, ED counsel Naveen Kumar Matta said Sharma and his partner, who is now declared a proclaimed offender, failed to respond to a notice issued by the ED seeking their replies within 15 days on whether they had obtained permission from RBI for not realising the export proceeds of $345,000 within the stipulated period.

An RBI official J.D. Ahuja had deposed in the court that as per the RBI records, the firm had not applied for extension of realisation of export proceeds.

Delhi police had raided Romesh Sharma's residence and farmhouse following inputs from the Intelligence Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The raids culminated in registration of 15 cases against Sharma, including those of extortion, illegal possession of foreign liquor in violation of excise act, and other offences.