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Daler to be a free man again


Punjabi pop star Daler Mehndi, alleged to have been involved in a visa fraud racket, will soon be a free man.

In an astonishingly quick turnaround, the Punjab police will soon initiate legal proceedings to clear the star singer -- who was nabbed after months of intensive search - of the charges against him.

"We will move the court and state Daler has been found innocent during investigations and say that his name should be removed from the police complaint," a Patiala district police official said Monday.

He said the special investigation team constituted to probe the human trafficking case would be disbanded soon.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said action would be taken against the police officers who had levelled charges against Daler.

He said, "If Daler is not involved then we will see who was behind it all and which police officer committed the mistake."

The badshah of Punjabi pop had accused the Punjab police of demanding a bribe of Rs.15 million from him for not implicating him in the case.

The singer had been on the run since October and was detained by Delhi Police on December 19, 2003, and was finally handed over to the Punjab police the next day.

He was taken to Patiala, 70 km from this twin capital, by road and produced in court on December 21 and was remanded in police custody.

On December 30 the Patiala court granted him bail.

Daler, his brother Shamsher Singh Mehndi, their two wives Ranjit Kaur and Baljit Kaur had been charged with running an immigration racket and duping people in Punjab and Haryana of millions of rupees.

Shamsher was arrested in Patiala on October 5 last year following a complaint by one Bakhshish Singh. He is still in judicial custody.

After Shamsher's arrest, a large number of people from various parts of Punjab and Haryana had poured in to Patiala and lodged more complaints against the Mehndi brothers.

The police had received 20 complaints of fraud and cheating against the Mehndi brothers.

The Punjab police visited various embassies in New Delhi and conducted numerous raids on Daler's properties in the capital, seizing many incriminating documents including visa applications on his company's letterheads.

Daler had first denied having any links with his brother. But he agreed to visit Patiala for interrogation after the police recovered records of their business relationship.

After evading the police for long, Daler had turned up for interrogation at Patiala on October 27 and was faced by angry demonstrators who splattered the windscreen of his Mercedes Benz with eggs and tomatoes.

But all that was clearly for nothing as the singer is about to be proved innocent.

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