On Thursday, a court in Punjab’s Patiala denied Daler Mehndi’s appeal against his incarceration and sentenced him to two years in prison in connection with a 19-year-old human trafficking case. He was then arrested and sent to a nearby prison. Mehndi was arrested after Additional Sessions Judge HS Grewal denied his bail application. ‘ It is worth noting that Daler Mehndi was sentenced to two years in prison by the JMIC Patiala on March 16, 2018. He is now being held at the Patiala prison. The Patiala police have already taken him into jail,’ according to the order.
Mehndi was convicted along with his brother Shamsher Singh in March 2018 and later freed on bail. Police had filed a complaint against Mehndi, his brother (who died in October 2017), and two others after it was claimed that the accused stole Rs 1 crore from individuals under the guise of sending them overseas.
Bakhshish Singh, the complainant, claimed that the contract never materialized and that the defendants neglected to repay the money. The lawsuit was filed in Patiala in 2003. Mehndi was detained and then freed on bond after a few days. Police had previously filed two petitions in court, claiming that Mehndi was not needed in the case because he had nothing to do with the immigration fraud known as ‘kabootarbaazi’ — literally “flying pigeons,” but referring to numerous Punjabi youth attempting to settle abroad through illegal means.
Following the investigation, police officers revealed that Mehndi and other artists had formed a well-organized racket to unlawfully transport adolescents from Punjab to western countries by posing as members of musical troupes. In each case, the youth faced fines of up to Rs 2 million. However, once police concluded that Mehndi had nothing to do with the immigration fraud case, the complainant filed a new motion in court, opposing to the singer’s release. He said that both of his brothers had misled him.
Mehndi was arrested in 2003 at a police station in Patiala after a few junior policemen urged him to strip naked during questioning. He was locked up for a few days before being released on bail. When an ‘organised’ crowd encircled their vehicles during the surrender in 2003, his younger brother, singer Mika, had to flee near the police station.