Indian Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi has been convicted in a case of Human Trafficking and has been handed down a prison term of two years. He was subsequently granted bail and he will remain on bail till further appeal to a higher court. Daler Mehndi was on Friday convicted in a 2003 human trafficking case by a court in Patiala. He was sentenced to two years in jail and was later granted bail.
“I have been granted bail. We will appeal in higher court,” the singer said. The appeal is pending. The Court of Judicial Magistrate Nidhi Saini, held Daler Mehndi guilty under section 420 (Cheating) and 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code (Conspiracy). Mehndi was granted bail after he furnished a bail bond and said he would challenge the verdict. Two other accused, Shamsher Mehndi and Dhian Singh died during trail, while a third Bulbul Mehta, an employee of Mehndi’s firm, was acquitted for lack of evidence. In 2003, the Patiala police booked Daler Mehndi and his brother Shamsher Mehndi — who died last year — and two others on the basis of a complaint filed by Bakshish Singh, a resident of Balbera village. After the police registered his complaint, it received 35 more; all complaints alleged that the Mehndi brothers had promised to send them overseas illegally in return for money. Bakshish claimed that Mehndi took Rs. 12 lakhs to send him to Canada. The police claimed that the Mehndi brothers had taken two performance groups to the US in 1998 and 1999 during which they had “dropped off” 10 group members illegally.
The Patiala Police raided the offices of Daler Mehndi at Connaught Place in New Delhi and seized documents. Strangely, in 2006, the Patiala Police filed two discharge petitions stating Daler Mehndi to be innocent, but the court insisted the singer be prosecuted as there was “sufficient evidence against him”.
Bakshish Singh said that he is happy that Daler Mehndi has been convicted.