Patiala, Mar 30 (PTI) A court here today suspended the two-year jail term awarded to Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi in a 2003 human trafficking case.

The Court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge suspended the sentence after admitting an appeal moved by his defence counsel challenging the conviction.

On March 16, Court of Judicial Magistrate Nidhi Saini had convicted the singer in the 2003 human trafficking case.

He was sentenced to two years in jail and was subsequently granted bail.

Mehndi had been granted bail by the trial court for the filing of the appeal in the higher court.

According to defence counsel Brijinder Singh Sodhi, they had filed the appeal before the appellant court on Wednesday and it was taken up for the hearing today.

The court today fixed May 18 as the next date of hearing.

While suspending his jail term till the disposal of the present case, the sessions court today asked him to file a Rs 50,000 bail bond.

Daler Mehndi was held guilty under sections including 420, 120 B of the IPC by the court of Judicial Magistrate Nidhi Saini.

Patiala police had registered a case against Daler and few others on a complaint filed by one Bakshish Singh, while some more complaints came up levelling charges of fraud against them.

The complainants had alleged that the Mehndi and his brother had taken ‘passage money’ from them to help them migrate to the US illegally, but failed to do so.

Singh alleged that the Punjabi singer had taken money for taking him to Canada.

It has been alleged that the Mehndi brothers took two troupes in 1998 and 1999 during the course of which 10 persons were taken to the US as group members and “dropped off” illegally.

Daler, on a trip to the US in the company of an actress, had allegedly “dropped off” three girls at San Francisco.

Both brothers had taken another troupe to the US in October, 1999 in the company of some other actors during which three boys were “dropped off” at New Jersey.

The Patiala police had even raided the singer’s offices at Connaught Place in New Delhi and seized case files of those who had paid the Mehndi brothers passage money.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.