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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Arrest warrant for Indian pop star
Daler Mehndi
Mr Mehndi phoned a TV station to declare his innocence
A court in northern India has issued a warrant for the arrest of Punjabi pop star Daler Mehndi in connection with an alleged illegal immigration racket.

The police accuse Mr Mehndi, his brother and five others of defrauding hopeful migrants out of sums ranging from $25,000 to $30,000.

Both Daler Mehndi and brother Shamsher Singh, who was arrested on 6 October, deny the allegations.

Mr Mehndi told an Indian TV station in a call from an undisclosed location: "I am innocent and will be found innocent. I was busy with my work, and not on the run."

He said he should be given an award for popularising Punjabi music rather than being harassed.

Associate targeted

Police had earlier raided Mr Mehndi's farmhouse on the outskirts of Delhi.

A senior police official told the BBC's Asit Jolly that the singer had so far failed to voluntarily aid investigations.

According to police, would-be migrants were told they would be taken on tours to Western nations disguised as dancers in Mr Mehndi's bhangra troupe

Officials confirmed a police team had raided the home of a key associate of the singer in the western Indian city of Bombay, also known as Mumbai.

Various materials were taken from the residence of Rakesh Kaushal, also known as Rocky, who was believed to have promoted Mr Mehndi's overseas tours.

Police say they have received 17 complaints in the case.


SEE ALSO:
Police raid Indian singer's property
15 Oct 03  |  South Asia


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