Bhangra Star Deported after nearly decade on the run

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Award-winning singer Garry Sandhu sent back to India

AN Award-winning Asian pop star has been deported to India after it emerged he spent nearly a decade on the run from the UK Border Agency.

Garry Sandhu, a rising star of the Asian music scene, was refused asylum when he came to the UK in 2002. But as officials worked to have him sent back to India the 29-year-old, who settled in the Midlands, absconded.

In the meantime he became one of the UK’s brightest Asian music stars with his songs featuring in official download charts and videos played day and night on a number of Asian music channels.

In October last year he was named Best Newcomer and Best Male Act at the Brit Asia Awards – the highlight of his burgeoning music career.

But just weeks later he was arrested after immigration officials finally tracked him down, and despite a wealth of online support from fans, he was sent back to India last week.

The UK Border Agency revealed the Bhangra star came into the UK in 2002 and claimed for asylum under a different identity.

After it was refused he was placed on immigration bail where he should have reported regularly to the agency.

But, instead, he absconded and the UK Border Agency did not know his whereabouts until he received a criminal conviction for obstructing a police officer in January 2008 when he was caught driving without insurance.

The singer was placed back on immigration bail while Border Agency officials worked to obtain emergency travel documents to remove him because he did not have a passport.

Armed with an emergency travel document officers visited his address in Hanover Road, Rowley Regis in October 2009 but discovered he had absconded again.

The elusive Bhangra star was finally arrested on 27 October 2011 and detained. While in detention, the popular singer kept fans updated via his Facebook page which attracted support from 14,000 people.

An online petition attracted nearly 3,000 signatures from fans desperate for the star to remain in the country.

He was temporarily released in November while the Border Agency considered further representations. But these were rejected and the singer was re-detained on 16 December before being removed to India on 12 January.

Gail Adams, UK Border Agency regional director, said the case sent out a strong warning to illegal immigrants on the run.

She said: “We will not tolerate abuse of the immigration rules. This man tried to evade our officers by adopting an alias and absconding. But his arrest and removal should send a message to all immigration offenders that they can run but they can’t hide. We will track them down and we will remove them.”   

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