INDIA.Patiala: The Patiala District Court today dismissed singer Daler Mehndi’s appeal against a two-year jail sentence in a 2003 human trafficking case, for taking people abroad by posing as members of a group and sent him to jail. Originally convicted in 2018, he has been out on bail.
In complaints nearly two decades ago, Daler Mehndi and his brother Shamsher Singh were accused of collecting “passage money” to take people abroad, particularly to the US and Canada, via the “group”. While some people were taken, there were others who said they took the money but did not keep their promise.
The case was filed in September 2003 in Patiala by one such man named Bakshish Singh. He said the brothers took two groups, including 10 people, to the US in 1998 and 1999 for illegal migration. “They took ₹13 lakh from me. They neither sent me abroad nor refunded my money.”
The brothers were arrested a month after the FIR and got bail within days. Both were charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code for human trafficking and conspiracy and under the Indian Passport Act. After this FIR, 35 other complaints have also surfaced, according to reports.
Shamsher Mehndi died in 2017 while the trial was ongoing. In 2018, Daler Mehndi was given a two-year prison sentence by the Magistrate’s Court, but was again released on bail. He later appealed.
Today, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge HS Grewal dismissed this appeal. His application for bail was also rejected, as was his application for parole, an undertaking of good behavior instead of jail time.
He now has the option of approaching the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In 2006, three years after the FIR, the local police filed a petition claiming that they had found nothing about Daler Mehndi. But the court refused to release him, saying there was “sufficient evidence” for further investigation. It took another 12 years first to pass the sentence and now another four years to confirm it.