Hike sentence

Daler Mehndi sent to prison as court upholds sentence in trafficking case | Latest India News

Patiala: Singer Daler Mehndi was sent to jail on Thursday after the Patiala District Court upheld his two-year prison sentence in an alleged human trafficking case dating back to 2003.

District and Extra Sessions Judge HS Grewal dismissed the singer’s appeal against his conviction and upheld a lower court’s decision that in 2018 found Mehndi guilty under Sections 420 (cheating) and 120B ( criminal association) of the Indian Penal Code. The court of first instance sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 2,000.

On Thursday, his request for bail was also rejected by the court in Patiala.

Mehndi, who appealed the trial court’s verdict to the district court in March 2018, was released on bail. But, after the district judge rejected his appeal, he was taken into custody by the Patiala police.

Lawyer Gurpreet Singh Bhasin, representing the plaintiff, said the court found Mehndi guilty of cheating and dismissed his appeal. “Mehndi later applied for parole, which we opposed and the court rejected. He was sent to jail,” Bhasin added.

Mehndi is likely to be sent to Patiala prison, where cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is also being held.

“We will take the decision to the high court against the decision,” said Brijinder Singh Sodhi, Mehndi’s lawyer.

In the First Information Report (FIR) recorded by Patiala Police 19 years ago, Daler Mehndi and his musician brother Shamsher Singh Mehndi were accused of taking money to illegally send people abroad by showing them as members of the troupe of the first. Shamsher Singh, who was also part of the Daler Mehndi troupe, died in 2017.

The FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by a Bakshish Singh from the village of Balbera in Punjab, who alleged that Mehndi had taken 12 lakh from him to send to Canada.

Subsequently, 35 other complaints alleging similar allegations of fraud against the Mehndi brothers were filed. During the investigation, Patiala Police also arrested two other people – Dhian Singh and Bulbul Mehta, an employee of the Mehndi Company. Dhian Singh died during a trial in 2017 while Mehta was acquitted in 2018 due to lack of evidence.

The FIR claimed that the Mehndi brothers took “passage money” from the plaintiffs to help them illegally migrate to the United States and Canada, but did not. He also claimed that they took two troops to the United States in 1998 and 1999, during which 10 people were taken as members of the group to America and were illegally “deposited”.

During the investigation, Patiala Police raided the offices of popular singer Daler Mehndi at Connaught Place in Delhi and seized documents including the file of those who allegedly paid ‘passage money’ to the Mehndi brothers.

In 2006, however, the Patiala police filed two motions for discharge claiming that Daler Mehndi was innocent. But the lower court confirmed that the singer should be prosecuted because there was “sufficient evidence against him in the court file and the possibility of further investigation”.

Shortly after the district court’s verdict on Thursday, plaintiff Bakshish Singh said he had received several threats over the past 19 years when the case was pending.

“It was a long battle, during which I received support from my family and friends. Mehndi was all powerful, when he deceived me and others. Even the police did not act on our plaintiff,” he said. “Later, even the police tried to discharge Mehndi from the case, which I objected to in court. The court agreed to start the trail and more later Mehndi was sentenced in 2018.”

“I will go to a higher court to increase the sentence,” he added.


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Special envoy, Vishal Rambani is the head of the Patiala office. He covers politics, crime, the energy sector, the environment and socio-economic issues, with several investigative reports to his credit.
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