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Business News/ News / World/  Canada probes India link to series of extortions in Alberta; Delhi says ‘will assist, but…’
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Canada probes India link to series of extortions in Alberta; Delhi says ‘will assist, but…’

India's High Commissioner to Ottawa says India could assist in investigating gangs operating in Canada if there is a formal request with evidence from the Canadian government. Canadian police are investigating a series of extortions and related crimes orchestrated by a suspect in India in Edmonton.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches performers at a community gathering for the devolution agreement ceremony at the Aqsarniit Hotel & Conference Centre in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. (REUTERS)Premium
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches performers at a community gathering for the devolution agreement ceremony at the Aqsarniit Hotel & Conference Centre in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. (REUTERS)

India-Canada Row: India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma said Delhi could assist in investigating the links to gangs operating in Canada and conducting extortions targeting Indo-Canadians. However, the envoy set a rider – “if there is a formal request from Ottawa along with evidence". 

According to a report by Reuters, police in Canada are investigating a series of extortions and related crimes that they believe are orchestrated by a suspect in India and involve criminals in Edmonton, Alberta, targeting the region's affluent South Asian people.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government is yet to approach India over the extortion crimes. “Canadians are yet to request, with evidence", Hindustan Times quoted Sanjay Kumar Verma.

Verma also informed that there were “existing mechanisms between the two governments to cooperate on organized crimes."

“If specific and relevant evidence — not merely unsubstantiated allegations — are shared with us, pointing to links between Canadian extortionists and Indian gangsters, we shall act accordingly." HT quoted Verma as saying.

According to media reports, Edmonton Police have said that they so far have reports of 27 incidents between October and January, including extortions, arson, and drive-by shootings, and asked others who may have been targeted to come forward.

Edmonton Police described a new trend in Canada -- victims typically receive a WhatsApp message along with a request for compensation for the victims' safety, reports Reuters

The Canadian police said that no injuries from these crimes were reported. However, one firefighter was injured in one of the arsons, and at least $6.7 million in property damage had been recorded.

Canadian Police said six young males were arrested in connection with the arson and firearms offenses. 

The arrested include 20-year-old Parminder Singh, who faces 12 firearms-related charges connected to an October 19 shooting at a residence in the city. He remains in custody. Others were identified as Hassan Dembil, 18, Manav Heer, 18, Ravinder Sandu, 19, who were charged with arson-related offences linked to a December 19 residential fire. They have since been released. Also arrested and then released was Arjun Sahnan, 19, who faces five firearms-related charges. One of these suspects has left Canada, police said on Thursday, without identifying who that was.

Diplomatic relations between India and Canada have frayed in recent months over Canada's allegations linking Indian agents to the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia last year. India has rejected that allegation. Canadian authorities are yet to charge anyone for the killing.

About 4% of the Canadian population is of Indian heritage, making Canada home to one of the largest communities of Indian origin, according to the Canadian foreign ministry.

(Note: The names of those arrested were reported by Hindustan Times)

 

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Published: 19 Jan 2024, 02:25 PM IST
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