The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Daler battles visa scam shadow
- singer, brother named in fraud case

New Delhi/Chandigarh, Oct. 6: Bhangra pop star Daler Mehndi today said he had severed ties two years ago with elder brother Shamsher, who has been arrested for alleged involvement in a visa racket.

Punjab police have registered a fraud and cheating case against the singer and four others, including Daler’s brother, for allegedly promising to take youth abroad in their musical troupe and contriving to let them stay on in the US and Canada to try and bag lucrative jobs.

Shamsher, the eldest of six Mehndi brothers, was arrested on Friday for being part of the visa racket in which gullible villagers are duped into parting with large sums of money to secure jobs abroad.

Shamsher was arrested after Bakshish Singh Vaid, a resident of Belwara in Patiala district, filed an FIR saying he had paid Rs 13 lakh of the Rs 15 lakh sum that was to be paid for reaching North America. Despite this, Bakshish had not been sent abroad, Paramraj Singh Umranangal, Patiala senior superintendent of police, said.

Daler called a news conference in Delhi to say he had nothing to do with Shamsher, whom he had disowned in 2001. He said he was being unnecessarily dragged into the matter.

The singer said some police officials in Patiala had benefited from the racket, which has also spread to Jalandhar, Karnal and Delhi. He said the racket was flourishing for eight months, adding that Bakshish and Shamsher were partners in crime and enjoyed the spoils. But they had since fallen out.

Daler said he had telephoned the police to find out how his name had figured in the mess. “The DSP asked me to give him a bribe of Rs 1.5 crore if I wanted my brother’s and my name out of the case,” he added.

“He also threatened that I would find my name in the newspapers tomorrow if I didn’t pay him,” Mehndi alleged. The singer said his name had featured prominently in a news report about the racket even after he had issued a clarification.

Daler said he had complained in writing to inspector-general of police Sashi Kant. “Why throw mud on me when I have nothing to do with it'” he asked.

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