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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 15:34 GMT
People-smuggling sentence delayed
Sentencing has been adjourned on a chip shop mogul who used his businesses as part of a people-smuggling ring.

Balwinder Singh Chatha, 44, of Dorrington, Shrewsbury, failed to appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court after becoming ill on Thursday night.

Judge Desmond Perrett QC delayed proceedings for a week, saying Chatha and two co-defendants should be sentenced together.

Chatha earlier admitted conspiracy to commission a breach of immigration law.

French raids

Chatha, of Limes Paddock, was arrested in October 2003 when National Crime Squad officers raided 17 addresses, including 12 takeaway outlets, in Shropshire and Powys.

The investigation focused on Chatha's involvement in the trafficking of Sikhs from the Punjab region of India, through Paris and into the UK.

French authorities arrested four people and detained 11 illegal immigrants in raids in Paris, as part of the same operation.

Chatha's 35-year-old sister-in-law, Bakshinder Kaur Chatha, and Charan Singh, 48, of Harebell Close, Hamilton, Leicester, were also due to have been sentenced on Friday.

Both Bakshinder Chatha, also of Limes Paddock, and Singh have pleaded guilty to facilitating a breach of immigration law.

Chip shop mogul trafficked people
17 Nov 04 |  Shropshire
Tough stance on immigration gangs
13 Aug 04 |  South Yorkshire

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