Daler Mehndi’s bail plea rejected

Published November 4, 2003

NEW DELHI, Nov 3: An Indian court on Monday rejected appeals for bail of a multi-millionaire rock star charged with trafficking in humans by ferrying them across Western borders disguised as members of his musical troupe.

The rejection by Delhi High Court Judge S. K. Agarwal kicked off a renewed police hunt for rocker Daler Mehndi who has also made similar appeals for bail in the northern town of Patiala, the alleged hub of his booming racket.

Judge Agarwal told lawyers of the Punjabi pop star, who was not present in court, that Mehndi should visit the junior court in Patiala where his parallel appeal for advance bail against possible arrest is pending a hearing.

The rejection coincided with reports broadcast by private Zee Television that police earlier on Monday arrested another Punjabi pop star, Sukha, on charges of human trafficking in Punjab state.

It did not give further details of the arrest of Sukha, who prefers to use one name. Mehndi, 36 has been charged with 31 counts of immigration law violations and could face life sentence if convicted.

“Yes we are now looking for him again,” a Patiala police official said of Mehndi, whose Punjabi-language albums have sold millions across India and the Punjabi diaspora.

Mehndi, a former cab driver, on October 27 surrendered to the police for questioning and then vanished.

Mehndi’s debut album “Ho Jayega Balle Balle” cut a new groove in contemporary Punjabi music.—AFP

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