Daler Mehndi and his late brother Shamsher Singh allegedly took 10 people to the US in the 1990s disguised as dance crew and left them there illegally.
New Delhi: A Patiala court Friday sentenced Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi to two-year imprisonment in a 2003 human trafficking case.
However, he was granted bail minutes after his conviction.
Daler Mehndi and his brother Shamsher Singh — who died in October last year — were accused of illegally sending people abroad, disguised as members of their troupe and charging them a hefty fee for passage.
The brothers allegedly took 10 people to the US in 1998 and 1999 in the guise of Mehendi’s dance crew and subsequently left them there illegally.
A case against the brothers was registered in 2003 when one Bakshish Singh from Patiala alleged that he was duped by the duo who had received Rs 4.5 lakh from him on the pretext of sending him abroad as a member of the pop singer’s troupe.
After the registration of the first case, close to 35 other complaints against the brothers surfaced.
The court took cognisance of the cases after it was alleged that the brothers had defrauded the complainants to the tune of around Rs 1 crore.
Although Patiala Police had filed two discharge petitions in 2006 claiming Daler Mehndi was innocent, the court upheld that the singer be prosecuted as there was “sufficient evidence against him…and scope for further investigation”.
A popular pop singer
Mehndi who gave a number hit numbers like “Tunak Tunak Tun”, “Bolo Ta Ra Ra” and “Saade Naal Rahoge Toh’ had a massive fan following in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
His debut album, ‘Bolo Ta Ra Ra’, sold over 20 million copies, instantly cementing his position as an Indian pop star. The song also won him Channel V’s Best Indian Male Pop Artiste Award.
Mehndi contributed to making bhangra — a punjabi folk dance — popular worldwide and creating a pop music industry that was distinct from Bollywood.
Mehndi is also a popular playback singer whose songs in movies such as Mrityudata, Rang De Basanti, Maqbool, Mirzya has earned wide appreciation.