Canada’s federal police urged to act on gangsters operating from its soil
In general, New Delhi expects Ottawa to deport people like Brar who are in Canada on student visas, but are involved in organized crime back home
Indian investigators have conveyed to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police the need to act swiftly against gangsters there operating against India and Indians. HT learns that a representative of Canada’s federal police force, posted at the Canadian High Commission met with senior intelligence officials in the Capital on Tuesday to discuss cooperation in investigating crimes in India planned by criminals operating from Canada.
The development comes in the wake of a premature announcement last week on the detention of Goldy Brar, the man implicated in the murder of musician turned politician Sidhu Moosewala. While Punjab Chief minister Bhagwant Mann said Brar was detained in California , there was no such assertion from either Canada, where Brar is based or the US. ``We have seen reports on that but do not have anything further to share,’’ said a spokesperson of the American embassy in Delhi.
As HT reported on Wednesday, it isn’t clear whether Brar was never detained, or if he was detained and then allowed to go. The Canadian embassy in New Delhi did not immediately respond to a query from HT on Brar.
In general, New Delhi expects Ottawa to deport people like Brar who are in Canada on student visas, but are involved in organized crime back home. Canada, HT learns, is urging India to follow a well-laid out legal route and provide evidence before any such steps are initiated. In a note prepared by the National Investigating Agency (NIA), which is probing Moosewala’s murder, the agency says that men like Brar are ``indulging in widespread radicalisation, recruitment, extortion, smuggling of arms- explosives - narcotics and violence in India.’’ The agency has been pushing for action not just against Brar, but Lakhbir Landa, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Raman Judge and Arsh Dhalla, all Punjabi gangsters, based in Canada.
`It is high time that the Canadian authorities deal with this strictly and do not allow Canadian soil to be so easily used for anti-India activities,’’ said a senior official in an Indian agency, on condition of anonymity. India has used every platform to urge Canada to act, this person added. In its presentations to the Canadians, HT learns that Indian agencies have pointed out that while these men have focussed most of their activity in India, there are related incidents happening in Canada too including the July killing of Ripudaman Singh, who was involved in the Kanishka bombing but had distanced himself from the Khalistani movement.
In India, other than Moosewala’s murder in May, Brar is also implicated in the murder of Dera Sacha Sauda follower Pradeep Singh, last month. ``It’s really as if he’s cocking a snook at us,’’ said the official quoted above, adding, ``In some interviews, they also seem to be announcing their next hit.’’
HT reported on November 27 that NIA has moved to declare these men as individual terrorists under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
``The extradition of those having acquired Canadian Citizenship may be a lengthy process, given that not many countries give easy access to its nationals, the cases of those accused of crimes in India (holding Indian citizenship) and hiding in Canada is relatively easier, given that not many countries want to be seen as harboring nationals of other countries – especially those overstaying their visas. Therefore, it will be wiser to segregate such individuals on this basis and then vigorously following it up with the Canadian authorities. While the extradition process can be initiated with proper follow-up at the diplomatic as well as governmental level, those overstaying their visas can be quickly deported,’’ said Wasim Beg, lawyer specialising in criminal and constitutional matters.