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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Canada court dismisses plea to arrest visiting ex-CRPF officer Dhillon

The court dismissed Sikhs for Justice's plea for issuing summons or an arrest warrant against Dhillon even as he left Canada a day earlier than originally planned probably because this hearing was scheduled for Monday.

india Updated: May 31, 2017 09:25 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Hindustan Times, Toronto
Gurpatwant Pannun, SFJ’s legal advisor, Jatinder Singh Grewal, also of SFJ and Vanora Simpson, a lawyer with Goldblatt Partners, in front of the Ontario Superior Court building in Toronto
Gurpatwant Pannun, SFJ’s legal advisor, Jatinder Singh Grewal, also of SFJ and Vanora Simpson, a lawyer with Goldblatt Partners, in front of the Ontario Superior Court building in Toronto(Image courtesy: SFJ)

A Canadian court has dismissed a plea by Sikhs for Justice for summons or an arrest warrant to be issued against a retired senior police officer from India, on the grounds that his presence in the country had not been “sufficiently proven” by the hardline activist group.

Tejinder Singh Dhillon, who retired as a senior officer of the Central Reserve Police Force and was first denied entry into Canada and then returned to the country courtesy a fresh visa and air ticket provided by its High Commission in New Delhi, is learnt to have left the country for India.

Dhillon left from Toronto airport on Sunday night while he had been scheduled to depart on Monday.

Since Dhillon was en route to Delhi, he was unavailable for comment on his decision to curtail his stay in Canada. However, that may have been precipitated by the private prosecution initiated SFJ on Friday.

The case came up before the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto on Monday, which did not issue either a summons or an arrest warrant, noting that Dhillon’s presence in Canada had not been “sufficiently proved.”

Gurpatwant Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ, reacted, “It is travesty of justice that we were asked to prove Dhillon’s presence in the country while (the) Indian police officer was brought back to Toronto by the (Justin) Trudeau government on Canada’s expense after issuing a public apology.”

Pannun said SFJ will appeal the decision: “We are filing an application under Access to Information Act to get the official records of Dhillon’s entry and exit in Canada from CSBA (Canadian Border Services Agency).”

SFJ had earlier argued that the country’s criminal code allowed for “extra territorial jurisdiction to Canadian Courts to prosecute foreign officials for torture committed outside when that official is present in Canada.”

While Dhillon spent much of his career in the CRPF and in a training capacity, SFJ pinned its case on the period of Dhillon’s deputation to the Punjab Police and the Punjab Armed Police, filing an affidavit relating to torture.

Pannun earlier alleged, in a statement, “With evidence in hand, there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that during Dhillon’s tenure as DIG Jalandhar range, Sikh nationalists were tortured by the police officials under his command for propagating Khalistan. We are seeking arrest warrants against Dhillon so he could face trial in Canada for the crime of commanding and counselling torture.”

Dhillon originally arrived in Canada on May 18 and after a harrowing experience that lasted nearly 24 hours in which he was denied entry in the country and placed on a flight back to India.

However, following expressions of regret from both the Canadian High Commission in Delhi and Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship department, he returned to Canada and attended the wedding and reception of a niece in a suburb of Toronto.

First Published: May 30, 2017 13:51 IST