local court in Patiala on Friday sentenced singer Daler Mehndi to two years in jail in a human trafficking case registered against him in 2003. Daler Mehndi, who was present in the court, was however granted bail.
“I have been granted bail. We will appeal in higher court,” the singer said.
Daler Mehndi and brother Shamsher Singh had been accused of illegally sending people abroad disguised as members of his troupe by charging hefty “passage money.” The complainants alleged that the accused had taken Rs 1 crore from them, and even failed to return the money when the deal never matured.
It was alleged that Mehndi brothers had taken two troupes in 1998 and 1999 during the course of which 10 people were taken to the US as group members and were “dropped off” illegally.
Daler, on a trip to the US in the company of Karisma Kapoor and the latter’s mother Babita, had allegedly “dropped off” three girls at San Francisco. The girls had been identified as Priya, Meenu Behn and Nimu, all from Gujarat.
The brothers took another troupe to the US in October 1999 in the company of Juhi Chawla, Raveena Tandon and Javed Jaffri during which three boys were “dropped off” at New Jersey.
Soon after the Patiala police registered a case against Daler and Shamsher, on a complaint filed by one Bakshish Singh; 35 more complaints came up levelling charges of fraud against the brothers.
The complainants had alleged that the brothers had taken “passage money’ from them to help them migrate to the US ‘illegally’, but had failed to do so.
The Patiala police had even raided the offices of Daler Mehndi at Connaught Place in New Delhi and seized documents, including the case file of those who had paid the Mehndi brothers “passage money”.
In 2006, the Patiala police filed two discharge petitions articulating Daler to be innocent, but the court had upheld that Daler be prosecuted as there was “sufficient evidence against him on the judicial file and scope for further investigation”.
Interestingly, just a few hours before the news of Daler Mehndi’s conviction spread ,the singer posted a motivational tweet, that clearly indicates that the singer had no clue about what was about to happen. Taking to Twitter, Mehendi wrote, “Take time to make your soul happy. #FridayFeeling #TGIF #DalerMehndi”