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Daler gets pre-arrest bail
Our Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 23
The Delhi High Court today granted anticipatory bail for 10 days to pop star Daler Mehndi against whom a Patiala court had issued arrest warrant in a human trafficking case. He was directed to report at the Patiala police station to join the investigation.

Directing Daler Mehndi to execute a bail bond of Rs 5 lakh and a surety of the like amount before the competent court, Mr Justice S.K. Agrawal said the pop star would present himself before the SHO Patiala Sadar at 11 a.m. on October 27 to join the probe in the case.

He had gone underground after the arrest of his brother Shamsher Singh for alleged human trafficking on a complaint of Bakshish Singh, who claimed that he was cheated by the brothers and their associates of Rs 12 lakh on the promise of facilitating his immigration to Canada.

The court accepted the plea of Daler Mehndi’s counsel R.K. Jain that the pop star had “severed” his relations with Shamsher about three years ago and had published an advertisement in this regard in a local Hindi daily. He subsequently had written a letter to the Editor of the newspaper clarifying certain aspects of the advertisement.

Accepting his plea, Mr Justice Agrawal said, “Considering the background of the case and taking into account a letter of August 2, 2002, written by Daler Mehndi, which prima facie shows the bad blood with his brother Shamsher Singh, who is in custody...I am persuaded to grant anticipatory bail for a limited period of 10 days to the petitioner.”

“In the event of his arrest, the petitioner shall be released on furnishing a bond of Rs 5 lakh and a surety of the like amount,” the court said imposing various other conditions on him.

While directing him to surrender his passport to the police, Mr Justice Agrawal warned him against making any attempt to tamper with the evidence and also told him not to go abroad without the permission of the court.

Earlier, Punjab’s Additional Advocate-General Atul Nanda and Sudhir Walia submitted that an affidavit had been filed as per court’s October 21 direction about the fresh complaints against the pop star. They said 31 more complaints of cheating against him had been received and his custodial interrogation was necessary to probe the entire immigration racket.

However, Daler Mehndi’s counsel questioned the veracity of these complaints stating that most of those as per the affidavit were from Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. “Why the complainants had chosen to refer these to the Patiala police instead of lodging FIRs in their respective states,” he asked.

Mr Jain also alleged that Daler Mehndi was “roped in” by the police only to “extract bribe” from him. He had placed on record the letters in this regard to the IG, Patiala, and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani.

He said the pop star had written a letter to the IG Patiala on October 6 in which the SSP Patiala, the SP (City) and the DSP, Patiala, were accused of demanding Rs 1.5 crore from him to settle. The IG had then transferred the case to the SSP, Sangrur.

“But they managed to get the case back at Patiala as they somehow wanted to book this man because they wanted to extract money from him, which they could not get from Shamsher Singh,” Mr Jain alleged, citing The Tribune report of October 8 about the transfer of the case.

But this was strongly refuted by the Punjab police counsel, who said the SSP, Patiala, after the publication of such reports in media had on his own offered to transfer the case, but the IG had turned down his request.

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