Daler’s Ditty: Sadde Naal Crash Karoge
The popularity of Punjabi pop stars apparently lies as much in their ability to ferry wannabe migrants to the US and Canada as their music. And just as the biggest of them, Daler Mehndi, spawned a host of replicas belting out folk-based Punjabi pop, it now transpires he is also allegedly the biggest "migration racketeer of them all". After a case was registered against him and his brother Shamsher Mehndi, on the complaint of a Bakshish Singh of Patiala, the Punjab police has now got a surge of complaints from different parts of Punjab and Haryana. There are now reports of links with Dubai-based don Abu Salem too.
At last count, there were 38 complaints with most of those duped alleging the Mehndi brothers took Rs 10-12 lakh from them with the promise of taking them abroad along with his musical troupe. While Shamsher has been arrested, Daler is presently dodging a non-bailable arrest warrant issued by a Patiala court. The pop star initially tried to duck investigations claiming he’s got nothing to do with his brother’s travel agency. He then levelled a counter-attack on the Patiala police investigating the case, claiming that senior police officers had demanded Rs 1.5 crore to hush up the case. But none of this has helped. Shamsher has reportedly admitted he was working on Daler’s behalf and Punjab CM Amarinder Singh has stepped in to give his force a clean chit. Within a day, the case—temporarily handed over to the Sangrur police after Daler levelled his allegations—was back with the Patiala police. Investigating officers claim they have "incontrovertible evidence" nailing the singer. A series of raids were conducted in Delhi at Daler’s houses. A raid party at the Mumbai house of promoter Rakesh Kaushal, the alleged conduit to Abu Salem, found he’d already fled India. Authorities have sent out alerts to prevent Daler from following suit.
By Chander Suta Dogra