Friday, October 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No interim protection for Daler Mehndi
Our Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 16
The Delhi High Court today declined to provide any protection against arrest to Daler Mehndi in a “human trafficking” case without hearing the Punjab police and issued notices to the state government and the Delhi administration on his anticipatory bail petition.

Mehndi moved the court today after his plea for anticipatory bail was rejected by a city Sessions Judge on Monday.

Issuing notices to the Chief Secretary of Punjab, Secretary (Home) and Delhi Government on his petition, Justice S.K. Agrawal even turned down the plea by his counsel Harish Salve for protection against arrest till tomorrow to enable him to attend an award ceremony.

“Without hearing the Punjab police nothing can be said at this stage,” Justice Agrawal said.

The court directed the Punjab and Delhi Governments to submit their replies by October 20, when arguments would be heard on the bail petition.

Mr Salve told the court that Daler neither had received any summons nor the arrest warrant from the court in Punjab and had come to know of it only through media.

Mehndi’s counsel also accused the media of running a parallel trial against Daler, against whom the Punjab police, registered an FIR at Patiala Sadar police station on August 27 on the complaint of Bakshish Singh of Balmbara village alleging that he had paid Rs 12 lakh to Mehndi’s associates in two instalments.

According to the FIR, annexed with the bail petition, Bakshish Singh had alleged that he was introduced to Daler, his brother Shamsher Singh, Tejinder Singh and Harchand Singh by Surinder Singh from Patiala for getting him visa to go to Canada.

“They demanded Rs 15 lakh to arrange the visa and with the intervention of Surinder Singh, the deal was settled for Rs 12 lakh... and Rs 2 lakh were to be paid in advance and Rs 10 lakh after getting the visa,” it said.

The complainant had alleged that he had paid Rs 2 lakh to Shamsher, Tejinder, Surinder and Harchand at his village in the presence of two local residents.

“Following this, I talked to Daler Mehndi on telephone. He informed me that the visa has been arranged and assured me of supplying a photocopy of the same as proof,” the complaint said.

“On July 4, 2003, Shamsher, Tejinder and Surinder reached my village...and delivered me the photocopy of visa and I handed over Rs 10 lakh. The amount was paid in the presence of my father,” recording Bakshish Singh’s statement, the FIR said adding that he was informed that his passport was lying with Daler Mehndi.

However, Mehndi in his petition said “there is no allegation in the FIR that the amount has been paid to him. He has no connection with the alleged offence and has been framed in the scandal.”

Committing that he would join the investigation, Mehndi said he would not interfere with the investigation process or tamper with the evidence. 


Police raids Daler’s flat
S. Iyer

Mumbai, October 16
A team of police investigators from Patiala and Mumbai said here today that they have recovered a computer, two video cassettes and a number of documents from a flat allegedly rented out to Punjabi pop star Daler Mehndi.

The flat located in the Arena building at the posh Lokhandwala Complex in North West Mumbai is owned by Rakesh Kaushal, alias Rocky, who used to organise Daler Mehndi’s foreign tours.

During the three-hour raid, the police seized photocopies of passports, telephone numbers and bills, two beta tapes and agreement copies of tours organised by Kaushal.

Kaushal, 42, who is wanted by the police, told mediapersons here that he was currently in Toronto, Canada, on a business tour and would meet a joint team of Patiala and Mumbai police on his arrival. He further denied that he was involved in facilitating illegal migration of people posing as members of Daler Mehndi’s troupe. Kaushal operates an outfit called DJ Doll that used to organise foreign trips. The company is also said to be in the music album business, the police says.

Police officials who conducted the raid at the Lokhandwala Complex had to force open the door of Kaushal’s flat since there was no one at home.

Kaushal is said to have rented the flat to Daler Mehndi.

The Punjab police team is also investigating the possibility of people from Maharashtra being sent abroad as illegal migrants, or ‘kabootars’, to the West posing as members of Daler Mehndi’s troupe. The seven-member Patiala police squad that raided Kaushal’s flat was headed by Kaushal’s Bhupendra Singh Virk, SP.

Meanwhile, Raveena Tandon denied that she was a part of the racket. She told reporters here that she had no role to play though she had accompanied the troupe as an artiste. 


Accused may turn approver in Daler case
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

On reaching Mumbai to probe charges against Daler Mehndi and his brother, the Patiala police team got support from an unlikely quarter. They were invited to a tea party by film star Dharmendra at his home. Sources said Dharmendra felicitated the team for the work being done by it.

Patiala, October 16
Punjabi pop star Daler Mehndi is likely to be in further trouble with the Patiala police set to record the statement of one of the accused under Section 164, IPC, to make him an approver in the case.

Sources said the local police had convinced one of the accused to become an approver in the case in order to conclusively prove Daler’s role in the alleged human trafficking racket. Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal said one of the accused may turn approver in the case, but refused to reveal details.

The SSP also said a police team had recovered the original proposal sent by Shamsher for hosting a programme at the Talkatora indoor stadium in Delhi. He said the proposal was prepared by Shamsher as a “Mehndi Brothers Night”. Besides, the team, which had gone to Mumbai, was also bringing back a computer seized from the flat of cultural troupe promoter Rakesh Kaushal, alias Rocky. The team was expected to reach Patiala this evening.

He also said Rocky had rung up the Patiala police from Canada and assured that he would join investigations at the earliest. “We have asked him to provide all necessary record”, he added.

Sources said a new name Pankaj Sharma of Delhi was now figuring in the police investigations into the case. Pankaj, they said, was a conduit through which people were sent abroad as members of the Daler’s troupe. They also claimed that Pankaj had connections with senior police officers.

Meanwhile, a local court today extended the police remand of Shamsher Mehndi till October 18. 

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