Indian actor and singer Daler Mehendi was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison today for his role in a 2003 human trafficking case.
Along with his brother, Shamsher Singh, Mehendi was accused of illegally ferrying immigrants to the United States by disguising them as members of his group and charging them significant fees for safe passage. Mehendi was also accused of personally dropping off three Indian girls in San Francisco, and he and Singh allegedly also delivered three immigrant boys to a friend of theirs in New Jersey.
Adding to Mehendi’s legal woes are allegations of fraud; according to prosecutors, Mehendi and his brother did not always deliver on their promises to help their customers gain entry into the U.S., even though they kept the passage fees. Singh died in October 2017.
The initial complaint was filed by Bakshish Singh, who accused the brothers of swindling him. According to Bakshish, he had paid his passage fee to the brothers, but the brothers did not hold up their end of the bargain.
The police in Patiala (with whom Bakshish filed his complaint) raided Mehendi’s office in Connaught Place. During the raid, investigators found and seized documents, including case files of individuals who had paid Mehendi for illegal passage to the United States.
Oddly enough, Patiala Police filed petitions to dismiss the charges in 2006, saying they believed Mehendi was innocent. However, the court denied those requests, stating there was sufficient evidence against the pop star to proceed with prosecution.
Following his sentencing, Mehendi was taken into police custody; however, he was granted bail later. It is unclear when Mehendi will begin his prison term.
[via Financial Express]