A court in Punjab's Patiala city has summoned popular bhangra pop singer Daler Mehndi October 11 to face trial on charges that he facilitated an illegal immigration racket through his musical troupes.
The court order comes as a slap on the face of Punjab Police, which included Daler in the illegal immigration racket in September 2003 but later told the court that the singer was not involved.
Judicial magistrate Rajwinder Singh rejected the police plea to let Daler off the hook. The judge also refused to give any exemption to Daler from personal appearance in the trial.
The judge order Thursday said that in his opinion there was sufficient ground and material against the singer.
The immigration racket came to light in 2003. Some of the victims had then alleged that the police were trying to shield the millionaire singer. Daler had been remanded in police custody in October 2003.
Daler, his brother Shamsher Singh and others were booked on charges of getting Punjab youths on board their musical troupes for shows in Western countries and then allowing them to stay back illegally in those countries.
Shamsher spent several months in prison in 2003 following the case.
Police officials claim any youth who wanted to benefit from the racket had to pay Rs.2-2.5 million in bribe money.
After Daler was charged in 2003, the police changed its stance in 2004 saying the singer was not involved and it had no evidence against him. The same police had earlier stripped Daler in a police station before interrogating him.
Daler, whose Bolo tara ra ra and several other numbers are major hits, is the elder brother of pop singer Mika, who was recently involved in a kissing row with item number Rakhi Sawant.