Chandigarh, Nov. 6: With raids across the region failing to find Daler Mehndi, a Patiala court today issued a non-bailable warrant against the Bhangra pop star.
But the investigation team has been transferred on chief minister Amarinder Singh’s orders, a move that is being seen as an attempt to bury the case.
Patiala civil judge P.S. Dhanoa issued the warrant in the human trafficking case registered early last month against Daler and his brother, Shamsher Singh. The court had on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of Daler, who is absconding for a week. Shamsher is in judicial custody.
“We are on the job and will trace him soon,” said Patiala senior superintendent of police Amarjit Singh Rai, who yesterday replaced P.S. Umaranangal. Daler had alleged that Umaranangal sought Rs 1.5 crore to “settle” the case.
The transfers of Umaranangal, deputy superintendent Rajinder Pal and inspectors Didar Singh, Shamsher Singh Guddu and Prem Singh were termed “routine”. Umaranangal, perceived to be close to Amarinder, has not been given a new assignment.
Rai said: “I am at the moment settling things down in Patiala as normal policing had suffered due to the investigations in the Daler case. A fresh look is needed.”
A Patiala police officer involved in the investigation denied any “slackening”.
“We will force Daler to surrender,” said superintendent R.L. Monga, who along with deputy inspector-general (Patiala) Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota is now handling the case.
Punjab police are conducting raids in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to trace Daler. His lawyer, Ravinder Kumar, insisted the pop star has not contacted him for almost a week.
Both Daler’s and Shamsher’s wives, Daljit and Balwinder, are yet to be questioned despite the police procuring non-bailable warrants against them. This may have to wait till Rai puts together a new investigation team.