Singer Daler Mehndi imprisoned for 2 years in human trafficking case

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Singer Daler Mehndi’s appeal against a two-year prison term in a 2003 case of human trafficking — for taking people abroad by showing them as troupe members — was dismissed by a district court in Patiala today, and he was sent to jail, reported NDTV.

Sentenced initially in 2018, he has been on bail so far.

In the complaints almost two decades ago, Daler and his brother Shamsher Singh were accused of collecting “passage money” to take people abroad, mainly to the US and Canada, via the “troupe” route. While they did take some people, there were others who said they took the money but did not keep their promise.

As per the report, the case in September 2003 at Patiala was filed by one such man, named Bakshish Singh.

He said the brothers took two troupes to the US in 1998 and 1999, including ten people for illegal migration. “They took 13 lakh rupees from me. Neither did they send me abroad, nor did they return my money.”

The brothers were arrested a month after the First Information Report (FIR) and got bail within days. Both were charged under the Indian Penal Code’s sections for human trafficking and conspiracy and under the Indian Passport Act. After that FIR, 35 other complaints came up too, as per reports.

Shamsher died in 2017 when the trial was still on.

In 2018, Daler got a two-year jail term from a judicial magistrate’s court but was released on bail again. He later filed an appeal.

Today, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge HS Grewal dismissed that appeal. His petition for bail was rejected, too, and so was a request to be released on probation — that is, a commitment to good behavior instead of jail time.

He has the option to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court now, reads the report.

In 2006, three years after the FIR, the local police had filed petitions claiming that they found nothing on Daler. But the court refused to discharge him, saying there was “sufficient evidence” for further investigation. It took another 12 years for the sentencing at first, and now four more years to uphold it.

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