Patiala: Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi sentenced two years jail by ihe court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Nidhi Saini today in a 2003 human trafficking case. He was later released on bail.
The sentence read: “Keeping in view the nature of the offence, convict Daler Singh Mehndi is not found entitled to any benefit under the Probation of Offenders Act. He is sentenced to two years’ of rigorous imprisonment under Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC with a fine of Rs 1,000 and one month in case of default of payment of fine and two years under Section 120-B (conspiracy), read with Section 420 of the IPC.” The sentences will run concurrently.
After the verdict Mehndi told mediapersons: “We will move the High Court. I have suffered a lot.”
He and his brother Shamsher Singh were accused of illegally taking people abroad disguised as members of their troupe. In 1998 and 1999, 10 persons accompanying them to the US as group members were “dropped off” there.
The singer, on a trip to the US in the company of an actress, allegedly “dropped off” three girls at San Francisco. During a tour in October 1999, three boys were “dropped off” at New Jersey.
A case was filed by the Patiala police on the complaint of one Bakhshish Singh. As many as 35 more complaints followed. The complainants alleged that the brothers had taken “passage money” to help them migrate to the US but had failed to do so. Subsequently, the Patiala police raided the singer’s offices in New Delhi and seized documents, including a file about those who had allegedly paid “passage money.”
Shamsher Singh, also a musician, passed away in October last year.
In 2006, the Patiala police filed two discharge petitions, stating that Daler was innocent, but the court held that the singer be prosecuted as there was “sufficient evidence against him on the judicial file”.