• Thursday, July 25, 2024

Canada

Canada arrests 3 men in Nijjar murder case: What we know about suspects so far

The three alleged hitmen, all in their 20s and Indian nationals, had arrived in Canada several years ago.

(L-R) Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh, who were arrested by police in Canada on May 3 in connection with the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June last year. (Picture: Integrated Homicide Investigation Team/Royal Canada Mounted Police)

By: Shubham Ghosh

ALL the three men who were arrested and charged in Canada on Friday (3) in connection with the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia in June last year are in their 20s and Indian nationals who reached the North American nation several years ago, a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) said.

The high-profile shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a gurdwara in Surrey led to a massive diplomatic row between Canada and India after prime minister Justin Trudeau alleged Indian agents’ role in Nijjar elimination. New Delhi strongly denied the allegations saying it is not its policy.

The 45-year-old was a citizen of Canada and a prominent local leader in the Khalistan movement for carving out an independent Sikh state in India.

The three arrested individuals — Karan Brar, 22; Kamalpreet Singh, 22; and Karanpreet Singh, 28 — are suspected to be the hitmen.

Read: Canada makes arrests over Nijjar case: report

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police identified the men arrested on Friday by their legal names and acknowledged that they also use shorter names or aliases, the CBC report added.

The three men have been living in Edmonton and CBC News cited sources as saying that investigators had identified the three in Canada a few months ago and monitored their activities.

The sources also told the outlet that the men had reached Canada on temporary visas, including student visas. None of the three are believed to have undertaken study courses during their stay in Canada and neither have got a permanent residency.

Read: Canada’s Five Eyes ally questions Trudeau charges against India over Nijjar death: ‘Where’s the evidence?’

Sources in the RCMP told CBC News that the men had reached Canada separately between three and five years ago but refrained from discussing their immigration statuses at a press conference on Friday.

Police officers expect that the three would be taken to British Columbia by Monday (6).

Another CBC report published on Friday said citing documents filed in a court in Surrey that the three accused men face first-degree murder and conspiracy charges in the murder case. While the charges were yet to be tested in court, they appeared before a judge virtually the same day.

Police suspect that the men had plotted plans with other people to eliminate the Sikh leader — in Surrey and Edmonton — between May 1 and June 18 last year, the court documents cited.

The police, when asked by a reporter whether the men should be seen as “guns for hire”, said more information would be revealed in court.

Mandeep Mooker, in charge of the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said the evidence would reveal the roles the three men played in the case.

RCMP commissioner Mike Duhemey said in a statement on Friday, “Today the Integrated Homicide Investigative Team and the Federal Policing Program Pacific Region announced the arrests of three individuals for their alleged involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18, 2023.

“Arrests like these do not happen without countless hours of investigative work and strategic coordination. I want to express my sincere thanks to all employees and partners who have contributed to the investigation.

The work doesn’t end here and, as the investigation continues, I will underscore that there are separate and distinct investigations ongoing.”

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