Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi gets two-year jail for immigration racket

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Daler Mehndi
Daler Mehndi.

The Canadian Bazaar

Punjab singer Daler Mehndi, who made Punjabi pop popular in urban India and Bollywood, has been jailed for two years by a court in Patiala for his involvement in immigration fraud.

The court announced the sentence on Friday in a 2003 human trafficking case in which Daler and his brother Shamsher Singh took people to the US by falsely showing them as members of their troupe and then dropping them off in US cities.

The two brothers charged `passage money’ from at least 10 people – who wanted to go the US illegally in 1998 and 1999 – by taking them as part of their troupe to the US where they disappeared.

In 1998, the singer and his brother went to the US in the company of an actress and helped three girls disappear from their troupe in San Francisco. In 1999, they took another trip to the US and dropped off three boys in New Jersey.

Mehndi’s immigration scam came to light in 2003 when a person from a village in Patiala district filed a case against the singer. Dozens of more people came forward to lodge complaint against the two brothers for cheating them. Incriminating documents were also seized from the singer during raids on his offices in Delhi.

The singer was granted bail after his two-year jail sentence. He said he will appeal the jail sentence.

Daler Mehndi, who was born to a Sikh hymn singer in Patna, stormed the music scene with his chart-buster song Bolo Ta Ra Ra. He is credited with making Punjabi pop popular in urban India and Bollywood.

Bollywood singer Mika Singh is his younger brother. Mehndi’s daughter is married to the son of famous Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans.

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