A Patiala court on Friday convicted Daler Mehndi on charges of running an illegal immigration ring in 2003 and sentenced the Punjabi pop singer to two years in jail. Daler had been accused of illegally sending people abroad disguised as members of his troupe by charging hefty “passage money”.
It had been alleged that the singer, and his brother Shamsher Singh, had taken two troupes in 1998 and 1999 during the course of which 10 persons were taken to the US as group members and were “dropped off” illegally.
Daler, on a trip to the US in the company of an actress, had allegedly “dropped off” three girls at San Francisco. Both brothers took another troupe to the US in October 1999 in the company of some other actors 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. At least 35 more complaints came up levelling charges of fraud against the two brothers.
The complaints had alleged that two brothers had taken “passage money” from them to help them migrate to the US “illegally”, but had failed to do so.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 alleged “passage money” to Mehndi brothers.
In 2006, Patiala Police filed two discharge petitions stating Daler Mehndi to be innocent, but the court had upheld that the singer be prosecuted as there was “sufficient evidence against him on the judicial file and scope for further investigation”.