Daler Mehndi gets bail 30 minutes after conviction in human trafficking case: All you need to know
He was charged with taking hefty passage money for illegally migrating people abroad.
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In a surprising and swift turn of events, Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi was granted bail soon after he was convicted in a 2003 human trafficking case by a court in Patiala, and set to be sent to jail for two years.
For years, the singer and his brother, deceased Shamsher Singh, had been sending people abroad illegally, claiming they are troupe members.
The 50-year-old singer, who has his own company DRecord, was taken into custody by the police after he was convicted. But soon, his bail plea was moved and granted. Later, he tweeted a video in which he said that the case was against his brother and not him.
Sat Sri Akal! This case has been going on since last 14 years with my brother, who unfortunately passed away last year, as the main accused. Even after court found no evidence against me, with assumption that my brother was under my umbrella, court has put out this verdict. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/UOJHpHqTkw— Daler Mehndi (@dalermehndi) March 16, 2018
This saddens me but I have complete faith in God that truth will come out soon. We will approach the session’s court for justice. I would like to thank all my loved ones all across the world for their support, love and good wishes.(2/2)#BelieveInDaler #DalerMehndi— Daler Mehndi (@dalermehndi) March 16, 2018
While bail for the singer 30 minutes after his conviction comes as a shocker, the movement of the 15-year-old case has been staggered for long periods. In 2006, Patiala Police had filed two discharge petitions stating Daler Mehndi to be innocent. The court had dismissed those petitions, saying there was enough evidence against him.
He was granted bail earlier too, but this was surprising as he was convicted this time. The incident also brings to the fore cases of human trafficking, which is rampant in Punjab.
Colloquially known as kabootar baazi. Human trafficking is a sad reality of once prosperous Punjab. People like Daler Mehndi exist because youth enamoured by a rich and better life abroad also exists https://t.co/Sj4lAtNDhd— Monica (@TrulyMonica) March 16, 2018
Kabootarbazi: Allegation goes back to 2003
According to reports, incidents of the singer colluding with his brother to traffick people during his concerts surfaced in 2003 after a complaint was filed by one Bakshish Singh. It was found that in 1998 and 1999, Daler and his brother Shamsher Singh, had taken 10 people to the US as part of their two troupes, and then dropped them off “illegally”.
It was also alleged that the singer had similarly “dropped off” three girls at San Francisco, and three boys at New Jersey.
35 complaints against the brothers
Soon after the Baksish Singh case surfaced, many people started complaining against the racket. As many as 35 complaints were filed against the duo.
Hefty passage money
The duo used to charge around Rs 1 crore as “passage money” for taking people abroad. But according to the complaints, the deal never matured and the money was never refunded. In 2006, his offices in Delhi's Connaught Place were raided. Documents, including the case files of those who had paid passage money, were found.
Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA) penalises trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation with seven years' to life imprisonment. Sections 366 (A) and 372 of the Indian Penal Code prohibit kidnapping and selling minors into prostitution, respectively. Penalties under these provisions are 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine.