Surrey man named as Indian terror suspect says he is innocent and shocked by allegations

By Kim Bolan, May 31, 2016

A Surrey man whom Indian officials allege is a terrorist mastermind says he is completely innocent and shocked at reports linking him to a 2007 bombing in Punjab.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar told Postmedia News he’s a hard-working plumber and proud Canadian who has no time for Indian separatist politics.

Nijjar, 38, said he has a meeting with a lawyer Tuesday to figure out how to respond to the allegations, which were reported in the Times of India and other newspapers on the Indian sub-continent.

“This is garbage — all the allegations. I am living here 20 years, right? Look at my record. There is nothing. I am a hard worker. I own my own business in the plumbing,” Nijjar said Monday in a phone interview.

“I am very, very shocked. My family and me are very shocked.”

Nijjar has no criminal history in B.C.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has issued a warrant for Nijjar on charges of attempting to cause an explosion, making or keeping explosives with intent to endanger life or property, and making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances.

All the charges were laid under India’s Terrorist Act.

The warrant is also posted on Interpol’s site of suspects wanted in various jurisdictions around the world.

The media reports say Nijjar was made the leader of a separatist group called the Khalistan Terror Force and was involved in a 2007 cinema bombing in Ludhiana, Punjab, that left six people dead.

The reports claim he had been running firearms training at camps near Mission, B.C., for sympathizers prepared to carry out attacks in India.

Punjab police said they arrested another B.C. man named Mandeep Singh Dhaliwal two weeks ago, who allegedly attended one of the camps. Officials paraded Dhaliwal before Punjabi media on Friday and said he had been in regular phone contact with Nijjar.

A group called the Sikh Organization for Prisoners Welfare, based in England, is defending Dhaliwal and says the case against him is fabricated.

Asked about the allegations of running a training camp, Nijjar laughed Monday.

He confirmed that he has a firearms licence in Canada, but only uses it responsibly and in accordance with Canadian laws.

“You know Canada is not for that,” he said of the training camp allegation. “I am a Canadian. I have responsibilities. I have little kids. I have a family.”

He said the allegations now broadcast around the world are “hard on me and my family and my little kids.”

Asked about his views on Khalistan, Nijjar said he’s too busy working to be involved in politics.

“I am working 12-14 hours every day. Everybody knows me. I don’t know why India is like that,” he said of the allegations. “You talk to … my clients. Everybody say I am friendly and hard-working.”

The Indian reports also said officials there had contacted the Canadian government about the terror suspects.

Asked about the report, RCMP Staff Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said his agency “is aware of the recent media report originating outside of Canada.”

“The RCMP monitors all potential threats but we are not in a position to speak to specific allegations, threats or ongoing investigations,” he said. “As always we encourage the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to their local police agency for assessment and followup.”

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office also refused to comment on the specific allegations, but said the government monitors “all potential threats and has robust measures in place to address them.”

 

 

IHIT investigating suspicious death after body of 34-year-old missing man found

Metro Vancouver’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is looking into the “suspicious death” of a man found dead in Lynn Creek over the weekend.

The body of Jastinder Athwal, 34, was recovered near the popular North Shore hiking trail on Sunday morning. Police confirmed his identity on Monday afternoon.

“The cause of death remains unknown and the potential of a homicide cannot be ruled out at this time,” said IHIT staff Sgt. Jennifer Pound in a written release.

She said an autopsy would be needed to determine the cause of death.

Investigators say family and friends last saw Athwal on May 19 in the Lynn Valley area. Police opened a missing person investigation and requested the public’s help in finding him.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about Athwal and his disappearance to call the IHIT Tipline at 1-877-551-4448 or, if Crime Stoppers if they prefer to remain anonymous.

CBC News

Students seeking sugar daddies for tuition, rent

SARAH SKIDMORE SELL, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Candice Kashani graduated from law school debt-free this spring, thanks to a modern twist on an age-old arrangement.

During her first year, she faced tuition and expenses that ran nearly $50,000, even after a scholarship. So she decided to check out a dating website that connected women looking for financial help with men willing to provide it, in exchange for companionship and sex — a “sugar daddy” relationship as they are known.

Now, almost three years and several sugar daddies later, Kashani is set to graduate from Villanova University free and clear, while some of her peers are burdened with six-digit debts.

As the cost of tuition and rent rises, so does the apparent popularity of such sites among students. But are they really providing financial relief, or signing women up for something more exploitative and dangerous than debt?

Kashani believes such sites are a “great resource” for young women, but others say these arrangements smack of prostitution and take advantage of women in a vulnerable situation.

Lynn Comella, an associate professor of gender and sexuality studies at University of Nevada Las Vegas, said that it is not unusual for students to turn to sex work such as stripping, prostitution or webcam work to pay for school. But the sugar daddy sites are relatively new, and she says not entirely upfront about what they are really about.

These arrangements are more vague than prostitution— there is an expectation of material benefit but it is not always specified and sex is not guaranteed.

Ron Weitzer, a professor of sociology at George Washington University and criminologist with an expertise in the sex industry describes it as “prostitution light.”

“Sugar Daddy” arrangements have existed for ages, and it’s unclear if they are becoming more common because the phenomenon is not well studied. But experts say at the very least the internet has made these transactions far easier to arrange and negotiate. “It allows you to hone in on what you want,” said Kevin Lewis, an assistant professor of sociology at University of California San Diego who studies online dating. “You could argue it is just making the market more efficient.”

Kashani says she sifted through many potential suitors before finding one she clicked with. She says she considers her sugar daddy one of her best friends and that they care deeply for each other.

“The people who have a stigma, or associate a negative connotation with it, don’t understand how it works,” she says.

But unlike most relationships, she is paid a sizeable monthly allowance that helps her pay for school.

U.S. undergraduate students last year finished school with an average of $35,000 in student debt — a figure that has risen steadily every year, according to Mark Kantrowitz, a financial aid expert. The average graduate debt load is $75,000, and some longer programs force students into much deeper debt.

Many students say their loans don’t cover the cost of living, and with rent skyrocketing in most major cities, they are left scrambling to make up the difference.

One graduate student at Columbia University in New York had a scholarship that covered almost all of her tuition, but not her living expenses. She spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the potential impact on her job prospects. She tried to make do — sharing a room with a classmate and working a minimum wage job, plus any freelance work she could get. But still she struggled to pay her rent and utilities, and her grades suffered.

“That’s just not why I am here,” she said. “I wanted to find the most amount of money I could make for the least amount of effort.”

So she found herself surfing Craigslist and Backpage.com and later, SeekingArrangement.com, the largest of the sugar daddy websites. Now she has two sugar daddies, one she sees occasionally and another who is more like a conventional boyfriend, except that he pays her a monthly allowance and helps rent her an apartment closer to him.

SeekingArrangement.com said it is most popular in Los Angeles and New York. The average rent in both areas is well over $2,000 a month, according to Zillow research.

The Columbia student says she plans to continue “sugaring” after she graduates to buy herself time to find a more traditional job and remain officially unemployed so she can defer repaying the roughly $70,000 in loans she had already racked up.

“There is a lot of moral panic about it,” she said. “But what are the real estate and academic funding situations that led to this?”

Brandon Wade, creator of the site, touts it as an “alternative to financial aid” but says the company did not set out to target students when it launched in 2006. It stumbled on this niche and began in 2011 offering students a free premium membership, which usually costs $30 a month. It charges sugar daddies $70 to $180 a month, depending on the membership level.

Seekingarrangement.com also offers to connect same-sex couples looking for such arrangements, or “sugar mommies” for men. But the male-female “sugar daddy” dynamic makes up the bulk of its business.

It’s difficult to pin down exactly how many students are involved in such situations, because they are private transactions. And it’s a niche rarely studied by academics.

SeekingArrangement.com says student users on the site jumped from 79,400 worldwide in 2010 to 1.9 million this year and students make up one-third of its users. And while it sees thousands of signups on any given day, the company says enrolment jumps during August and January when tuition is typically due, sometimes to more than double its normal levels.

Women who have used the site report experiences that run the gamut — from respectful chaste dates all the way to aggressive solicitation online, even though it is forbidden on the site. Sex is not guaranteed although most users say it is implied. The company says a few arrangements have even led to marriage, although it is rare.

Some of the women say they feel respected and cared for, but remain aware that it is an arrangement, not traditional romantic love.

“It benefits me in many ways — we have a healthy relationship, we travel together, I’m able to enjoy the city more,” said the New York graduate student.

Still, she said, it is a job.

“It does kind of rub me the wrong way that some people don’t see it as sex work,” she said.

Comella warns that unlike sex workers, many women doing this put their true identities online, and that could put them at risk. While Seeking Arrangement runs background checks, there have been reports of violence against both men and women stemming from sugar daddy websites.

Kristen Houser of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center says that violence is common any time money is exchanged for sex. “You need to pay attention that there is a power imbalance,” she said.

Wade says there are risks inherent in any dating website. He should know; he runs several, including one that allows users to bid on dates and another focused on open relationships. He said he created SeekingArrangement.com out of his own frustration with women. An MIT graduate, he had difficulty meeting women and realized a site such as this would highlight what set him apart — money.

“Money and sex are things that people want,” he said. “I think the controversy comes into play on seeking arrangement because we are so upfront about it.”

‘They are evil monsters that attack us night and day’: Senegal’s terrifying killer hippo problem

BY PETER HOLLEY, WASHINGTON POST

Each day, when Ali Fall heads to work, he knows he’s tempting death.

The 25-year-old is not a soldier or a police officer battling urban crime, but a simple fisherman – one who spends his days hauling nets in the the waters of Gambia river in eastern Senegal, according to Agence France Presse.

It might be a placid existence, were it not for an aggressive creature lurking at the water’s edge.

That animal, AFP reports, is the reason Fall conducted his interview from a hospital bed, where he was wrapped in bloodied bandages.

He is lucky to be alive.

“I came with another fisherman to pick up the nets I had left when the hippopotamus upended our boat,” Fall told AFP. “My friend got away, but it bit into my left leg, then my right.”

“It’s the second time I’ve been attacked, after their first attempt in 2014,” he added. “I’ve cheated death twice.”

Many others from his village of Gouloumbou have not, as the waters “have often run red with the blood of his peers,” according to AFP.

In the last decade, hippos – the most dangerous mammal in Africa, according to National Geographic – have mauled 25 fishermen to death and injured many more in Gouloumbou, elders told AFP.

“Hippopotamus” is Greek for “river horse.” Unlike horses, whose instinct is to flee from danger, hippos are unpredictable, territorial and often tempestuous, making them fearsome creatures in spite of their doughy, almost cartoonish appearance.

Videos showing the animals fearlessly brutalizing crocodiles are commonly posted on YouTube.

Despite that appearance, they are deceptively fast, especially in water, where they become graceful swimmers. A viral YouTube video shows a hippo chasing tourists on a motorboat and briefly keeping pace.

The massive herbivores are also surprisingly swift on land, clocking in at an estimated 18 to 30 mph, according to the Nature Conservancy.

“Hippo pods are led by dominant males, which can weigh 6,000 pounds or more,” according to a Smithsonian magazine article from 2006. “Females and most other males weigh between 3,500 and 4,500 pounds, and all live about 40 years.”

“Though they occasionally spar with crocodiles, a growing number of skirmishes are with humans,” the magazine notes. “Hippos have trampled or gored people who strayed too near, dragged them into lakes, tipped over their boats and bitten off their heads.”

Reports of marauding hippos surface in countries across Africa and Asia every few years. The exact number of people killed and injured each year by hippos is not known.

But regarding one notable period of destruction 16 years ago, AFP reported that rampaging herds of hippos were “spreading terror” among farmers and fishermen along the river Niger, in the west African country of the same name. Local authorities told the wire service in 2000 that the animals were attacking boatmen and were responsible for smashing or sinking about a dozen vessels.

The hippos were also attacking cattle grazing near the riverbank; locals, it seemed, were defenceless.

“Teams armed with machetes, clubs and burning torches have been set up to protect the rice fields, but a local trader said the strategy was ineffective because the villagers are unable to resist the charges of the ravenous animals,” AFP reported at the time.

More recently, a 2014 hippo attack in the same country left 12 children and an adult dead, according to AFP. The hippo flipped a boat transporting the group across a river en route to school, though the AFP report did not clarify whether the students drowned or were mauled, either by a single hippo or by a pod.

“Ultimately it was 12 students, including seven girls and five boys, who died after the attack,” Minister of Secondary Education Aichatou Oumani told AFP at the time.

In Gouloumbou, village chief Abdoulaye Barro Watt has described a terrifying and treacherous situation. He told AFP that locals like Fall continue to endure the wrath of violent hippos because the river is their only source of income.

“These men are struggling to survive due to these attacks,” he said. “I have written so many letters to the authorities, even the fisheries minister, to make them aware of the problem.”

Even so, Gouloumbou villagers told AFP, venturing into the waters is a last resort, in part because their ethnic group’s traditional fishing boat – a wooden skiff known as a “pirogue” – provides little protection from an angry hippo.

Moussa Bocar Gueye said he hasn’t been fishing in three weeks.

“They are evil monsters who attack us night and day,” he told AFP. “Because of them, we haven’t been fishing. There aren’t any more fish at the market.”
But killing hippos is not an option, AFP reports, because they’re a protected species in Senegal.

Fishermen aren’t the only ones vulnerable to attack, according to AFP.

Villagers rely on the tributary to wash their clothes and bathe, but they do so warily.

“I’m scared they’ll attack,” Aminata Sy, who does laundry in the river, told AFP. “That’s why I always stay facing the river.”

“We don’t have a well or any taps,” she added.

There is some hope, however.

Djibril Signate, Senegal’s national director of inland fishing, told the news service that the government plans to provide fishermen with 20 metal pirogues – with motors – to provide more safety during an attack.

“We are installing a fish farming enclosure in Gouloumbou,” Signate said. “The ministry has also distributed nets, hooks and lifejackets so they can fish in pools that are chock full (of fish).”

Despite the new boats and the fishing enclosure, Fall has had enough of the hippos lurking in the river.

“After I get better,” he said, “I’m changing profession.”

Texting in cars won’t go away with sneaky police photos

Just like drinking and driving, there are deeper causes that need to be dealt with before we can justify long-range surveillance
By

Over the May long weekend, RCMP in British Columbia were setting up DSLR cameras with super-long lenses to snap drivers mucking with their phones and doing other distracted things. The resulting tickets will be backed up with photographic evidence, goes the thinking, because most of us suspend the belligerence when caught red handed.

With the ability to catch you in the act from over a kilometre away, I admit my initial thought was, “Finally, cops will start busting all those morons I see glued to their phones,” because I swear, every third car I pass has a driver texting. When people see a cop, they drop their phone. But this snoopy thing? Well, now we might be getting somewhere. Right?

Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision. We know that, and yet, even as people wag a finger at drivers who use their cells, many are still doing it. Hands-free is legal, but not as safe as we pretend. Your eyes may be on the road, but your mind is not. Everywhere, fines and demerits are being raised and yet the problem persists, just like the fact that too many still drink and drive.

Decades of educating and legislating have seen the number of drunks behind the wheel fall, though even that seems to be just hammered down to a stubborn threshold; it seems we will never end a core group determined to drive after drinking, unless they are physically removed from the driver’s seat. Drunks get behind the wheel because drunks make that decision while they’re impaired; it’s why the campaigns all highlight making the decision before you’ve started imbibing, rather than after.

Seatbelt legislation is often used as a model of success for behavioural change. Most of us buckle up, and most of us know that seatbelts work in conjunction with those airbags. Not buckling up may be your idea of going rogue, but car manufacturers can only save you if you use the features as intended. A body repair shop worker I know tells me he can’t believe the condition of some of the cars that come into his shop after a major crash, and that the occupants were not severely injured. He says even a decade ago those same occupants would have been dead. Call me cynical, but I think a lot of those tumbling fatality statistics have far more to do with automotive safety advances than improved driver behaviour.

But cellphones are proving to be their own kind of hell on our roads. Cellphones and their connective counterparts – Twitter, texting, Facebook, email – can be addictive. They ping the same part of your brain that gets ramped up when you gamble or have sex, and give it a hit of dopamine. You’re not imagining that pull you feel when your phone rings, or a message lands. Your brain wants that rush. You’re supposed to enjoy things to feel that chemical release; it’s our hardwired reward system.

The problem arises when we combine these interactive exercises with driving – driving that needs to be not just our primary focus, but our only one. Car manufacturers have loaded a ton of distractions into today’s vehicles, and most have had to dial back what works as you’re rolling along; jamming away at a navigation system at speed is deadly, though so is trying to scroll through a bunch of touchscreens to turn down the heat. Manufacturers have a lot to answer for in their quest to let us entertain ourselves (sometimes to death), but handheld devices are on us, even when mated to the vehicle’s in-house systems.

Surrey man accused of running ‘terror camp’ near Mission

A Surrey man is accused of running a “terror camp” near Mission that’s plotting attacks in the Punjab, according to an India news report.

By CHERYL CHAN

An article published Monday in the Times of India cited a report by Punjab intelligence identifying Hardeep Nijjar as the “operational head of (the) Khalistan Terror Force (KTF).” 

According to the report, Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, has lived in Surrey since 1995. 

He is wanted in India in connection with a blast at a cinema in Ludhiana in the Punjab province, where six people died in 2007. 

The report alleges Nijjar has been training at least four Sikh youths on how to use AK-47s for the purpose of carrying out attacks in India. 

The training took place “in a (rifle) range near Mission where they were made to fire for four hours daily,” said the report. 

One of the trainees, Mandeep Singh, was arrested two weeks ago, said the Times. Singh arrived in India in January from Canada and is accused of being involved in a terrorist plot. 

The report claims Singh was on a reconnaissance mission and that Nijjar was to arrange weapons from Pakistan.

The Times said India intelligence agencies have alerted Canadian authorities to the alleged camp, and have already submitted an application seeking Nijjar’s extradition.

Global Affairs Canada wasn’t available for comment late Sunday.

This isn’t the first time India authorities have requested Canada track Nijjar. In 2015, India police requested RCMP track his whereabouts after he was suspected of a plot to transport ammunition by paraglider over the Pakistan-India border. 

That plan was foiled after the arrest of Jagtar Tara, described as the former chief of the KTF.

Canuck the Crow swoops off with knife from Vancouver crime scene

The feathered foe with prior run-ins with Vancouver Police picked up the knife from the scene and flew away several metres before dropping it.

VANCOUVER—A notorious character with prior run-ins with Vancouver Police briefly snatched a knife from a crime scene this week, but the cops aren’t recommending charges.

That’s because the knife thief is believed to be Canuck the Crow, an infamous local bird that was raised by humans and has more than 13,000 Facebook followers.

The incident unfolded after police shot and wounded a man near an East Vancouver McDonald’s on Tuesday, prompting media, including Vancouver Courier reporter Mike Howell, to race to the scene.

“I saw this crow swoop in and grab some sort of object, and then start to fly away with it,” Howell said. “Then the cop started to give chase in the parking lot, and then about, say 15, 20 feet (six metres) later, the crow dropped what turned out to be a knife.

“I thought, ‘Well, that’s kind of strange.'”

Vancouver Police said officers were called to the scene of a burning car in the parking lot. Officers were confronted by a man with a knife, shots were fired and the man was arrested, police said.

Const. Brian Montague confirmed that a bird picked up a knife and tried to fly away before it was chased by officers. The knife was eventually gathered as evidence.

Montague said it’s not the first time the department has encountered Canuck. An officer took a photo of the feathered foe in April when it flew into a police cruiser and stole a button from the keyboard of an on-board computer.

“No planned press conference or ‘wanted’ poster,” Montague said in an email.

Despite the bird’s tendency to tamper with police evidence and equipment, a Facebook page devoted to Canuck describes him as a popular — if sometimes difficult — fixture in the area of Cassiar Street and Hastings Street, near the Pacific National Exhibition.

“He’s met so many people and had so many experiences with them. He likes who he likes and he doesn’t like who he doesn’t like. He is a wild crow after all. But I do think he likes getting his picture taken,” the page says.

The page says the bird was found as a hatchling that had fallen from a nest. A resident raised Canuck until he was able to fly, before setting him free with the red zip tag around his leg so he could be easily identified.

Howell said he has probably received more Twitter activity about Canuck over the past few days than anything else he’s ever reported on, but he noted that the story he wrote on Tuesday focused on the police shooting.

“I didn’t want to be insensitive to the story that police actually shot a man in a parking lot,” he said, adding that police shot and killed a different man in the same parking lot in 2012.

“There’s all these elements there, like, ‘What’s my lead? Do I lead with the crow? He just picked up a knife and dropped it.’ But everybody’s more interested in the crow than they are about the guy being shot by police.”

By The Canadian Press

Neighbour’s DNA matched blood found in Gill home, murder trial hears

MEGHAN HURLEY, OTTAWA CITIZEN

Jagtar Gill, 43, was found dead in her home in January 2014. The Crown contends that her husband and his lover “hated” her and conspired to kill her.

DNA obtained from a bloody knife and blood found spattered throughout the Ottawa home of Jagtar Gill after she was stabbed and bludgeoned to death matched that of her neighbour Gurpreet Ronald, an Ottawa court heard Wednesday.

Ronald and Gill’s husband, Bhupinderpal Gill, are each charged with first-degree murder in Gill’s 2014 death.

The Crown alleges the co-accused, co-workers at OC Transpo, were in a longstanding affair and had conspired to kill Jagtar Gill.

Bhupinderpal Gill and Gurpreet Ronald

Bhupinderpal Gill, left, and Gurpreet Ronald, right, have been charged with first-degree murder and have pleaded not guilty. (CBC)

The two accused have both pleaded not guilty and are being tried together, but are being defended by different lawyers.

On Wednesday Ottawa police Const. Julie Dobler, a forensic identification expert, continued to take court through the evidence she and her team found in the Barrhaven home where Jagtar Gill’s lifeless body was discovered on Jan. 29, 2014.

Dobler said on Feb. 6, 2014, police turned over a number of blood-covered exhibits seized from the family room and from other parts of the Gill home to the Centre for Forensic Science in Toronto to obtain a DNA match.

Samples taken from victim, co-accused

Police surreptitiously obtained Gurpreet Ronald’s DNA from a white envelope, Dobler testified. Investigators obtained a DNA sample from Bhupinderpal Gill from a used tissue, also without his knowledge.

Jagtar Gill knife found

One of three blood-stained knives police say they found in the sink of the Gill home. (Ottawa Police Service)

The DNA analysis came back in March, showing the bloody, serrated knife found in the Gills’ kitchen sink, blood found on the baseboards, doors and carpet on the home’s second floor, and blood found in the master bedroom bathroom all matched Ronald’s DNA sample.

Blood found on a finger torn from the blue latex glove found next to Gill’s body also matched Ronald’s, Dobler testified. A box of similar-looking blue gloves was seized from a kitchen cupboard in the Gills’ kitchen.

Dobler said the analysis determined the chances of someone else sharing the same DNA profile as Ronald’s was one in one quadrillion (or one followed by 15 zeroes).

When police questioned Gurpreet Ronald several days after the killing about the bandage on her finger she said she’d cut it chopping vegetables.

Police placed camera in home

Bhupinderpal Gill

A still image from a police camera police set in the basement of the Gill home shows Bhupinderpal Gill checking on a weightlifting bar on Feb. 6, 2014, police testified. The bar was a replica placed by police after they found one with blood on it in a box in the basement. (Ottawa Police Service)

A day earlier, Dobler had walked the court through the evidence found in the home, including a metal weightlifting bar with blood on it found in a box in the basement.

Dobler said Wednesday she was “definitely surprised” to find the potential weapon stashed in a box in the basement.

That bar was seized by police and replaced with an exact replica, and police sought a warrant to install a video camera in the basement to see what would happen to it. Police covered the bar with sheep blood in place of the human blood.

Some time after the killing police followed Bhupinderpal Gill to Cedarview Road where they say he threw the replica bar into a wooded area, court heard.

Relatives of victim disturbed by photos of body

On Tuesday more than two dozen family and friends of Jagtar Gill watched the Crown go through graphic photos of the deceased, and some could be heard gasping in the courtroom at the disturbing images.

Jagtar Gill evidence

Ottawa police Const. Julie Dobler said they found this blood-stained weightlifting bar inside a box on top of a fake Christmas tree. Police replaced it with an exact replica. (Ottawa Police Service)

Jagtar Gill’s sister, Harjinder Sidhu cried and at times put clenched fists to her face as the Crown presented the grisly photos of Gill’s body. A young woman beside Singh held her hand.

Gill’s father, Ajit Singh Mann, broke down and left the courtroom as the photographs were shown.

Co-accused were lovers, conspired to kill, Crown contends

Crown prosecutor Jason Neubauer told Ontario Superior Court last week during opening statements that Ronald and Bhupinderpal Gill were lovers for a year and a half and that they conspired to kill Jagtar Gill, whom they both hated.

Phone records show the co-accused spoke for about 48 hours during hundreds of calls in the 28 days leading up to the killing and met each other repeatedly, Neubauer told court.

On the day she was killed, Neubauer said, Gill was at her “most vulnerable” following abdominal surgery the day before.

Her husband and daughter left the home that morning to buy anniversary presents, and that is when, the Crown alleges, Ronald entered the home and bludgeoned and stabbed a weakened Gill.

It was noted that wounds on Gill’s forearms and hands indicated she tried to defend herself from the attack.

On the day of the killing, phone records show the two accused spoke four times and met at a nearby grocery store after Gill was dead, where they spoke briefly and left in separate vehicles.

Co-accused in murder trial were in long-standing affair, conspired to kill, Crown contends

Bhupinderpal Gill, victim’s husband, and Gurpreet Ronald spoke for dozens of hours before killing

By Laurie Fagan, CBC News

The husband of a woman who was found beaten and stabbed to death in their home in 2014 “hated his wife” and didn’t consider divorce an option, the Crown alleged during opening statements on the first day of a high-profile murder trial in Ottawa.

Bhupinderpal Gill, the husband, and Gurpreet Ronald, a neighbour, are each charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jagtar Gill and have pleaded not guilty. Both worked as bus drivers for OC Transpo.

The two accused are being tried together, but each have their own defence lawyers.  ​

Crown prosecutor Jason Neubauer told Ontario Superior Court that Ronald and Bhupinderpal Gill were involved in a long-standing affair of a year and a half and that they conspired to kill Jagtar Gill, whom Ronald hated as well.

Phone records show the co-accused spoke for about 48 hours during hundreds of calls in the 28 days leading up to the killing and met each other repeatedly, Neubauer told court.

Gill ‘most vulnerable’ on day of killing

On the day she was killed, Neubauer said, Gill was at her “most vulnerable” following abdominal surgery the day before.

Jagtar Gill, 43, was found dead in her home in January 2014. The Crown contends that her husband and his lover “hated” her and conspired to kill her. (Courtesy of Gill’s family)

Her husband and daughter left the home that morning to buy anniversary presents, and that is when, the Crown alleges, Ronald entered the home and bludgeoned and stabbed a weakened Gill.

It was noted that wounds on Gill’s forearms and hands indicated she tried to defend herself from the attack.

On the day of the killing, phone records show the two accused spoke four times and met up after Gill was dead at a nearby grocery store, where they spoke briefly and left in separate vehicles.

Neubauer said the Gills’ teenage daughter was the first to make the “shocking and gruesome” discovery of a “particularly brutal killing” when she and her father returned to their Barrhaven home.

Ronald changed story to police, Crown says

Ronald initially told police she didn’t know the Gills very well, but that she thought they had a good marriage. The next day she changed her story, telling police she went shopping with Jagtar Gill and cut her hair, and that she was close with Gill’s husband, Neubauer said.

Blood from Ronald and Jagtar Gill was found on a knife discovered in a wooded area by a National Capital Commission worker in the spring of 2014, several months after Jagtar Gill’s death in January, Neubauer told court.

When first interviewed by police, Bhupinderpal Gill told them he and Ronald were just friends, and “he had no idea who would kill his wife.” He also told them he wiped off blood from knives next to his wife’s body because he “was scared.”

The Crown argued Ronald’s blood was found on the finger portion torn from a blue latex glove found next to Gill’s body.

Police set up surveillance video

Neubauer told the court Gill hid the bloody weightlifting bar used to bludgeon his wife in a box in the basement. Police found the bar while searching the house after the killing and took it as evidence.

Police then placed a replica bar with blood on it in the box and set up a concealed video camera next to it.

Bhupinderpal Gill is pictured in an earlier court appearance. (Sketch by Laurie Foster-Macleod/CBC)

That surveillance video captured Gill removing the bar from the basement. Police then followed him to a wooded area near Cedarview Road and saw him toss the bar, which they later recovered.

In April, a short time before his arrest, Bhupinderpal Gill admitted to police he and Ronald were having an affair.

Jagtar Gill’s sister, Harjinder Singh, was also in the courtroom Friday, and wiped tears from her eyes as the Crown outlined the details of the killing.

Trial delayed by lengthy jury selection

The trial was set to begin earlier this week, but three female jurors asked to be excused from jury duty, saying they felt the evidence might be too traumatic to sit through. Justice Julianne Parfett agreed, and more potential jurors had to be screened to find replacements.

Crown prosecutors are scheduled to call more than 30 witnesses, and Punjabi interpreters will be needed for some testimony.

Multiple arrests following ongoing drug trafficking investigation

Wanted by Police: Ravinder Samra of Surrey,  Hazim Hazim of Surrey, Priya Sandhu of Richmond, Abdulhamid Sultan of Surrey and four others 

Surrey RCMP advises that a number of arrests have been made of individuals alleged to be involved in ongoing drug trafficking operations in Surrey and Richmond .
On May 25th Surrey RCMP’s Drug Unit arrested eight individuals simultaneously at multiple locations throughout Surrey. The arrests were in relation to an ongoing investigation that began last year into a dial-a-dope drug trafficking operation in Surrey and Richmond. Evidence consistent with street level drug trafficking including cash, phones, and varying amounts of controlled substances were located during the course of this initial investigation. Four of the individuals arrested were wanted on outstanding warrants for drug trafficking, while the remaining four individuals will be facing a number of drug related charges.
As a result of this investigation, the following wanted persons and are now in police custody:
Ravinder SAMRA, (29 year old male, from Surrey) –  Trafficking X 1
Hazim HAZIM (20 year old male, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 2
Tony TRAN (30 year old male, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 2
Peter BUTCHER (52 year old male, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 3

These arrests are part of the Surrey RCMP’s proactive enforcement strategy aimed at targeting individuals involved in the drug trade and the threat it brings to public safety. Following a spate of violence last spring tied to the low-level drug trade, the Surrey RCMP launched a concentrated effort to arrest those involved in drug trafficking in Surrey.

“Today’s arrests are part of a larger strategy to decrease the violence in our city caused by the dangerous activities of drug traffickers plying their illegal trade on our streets,” says Surrey RCMP Proactive Enforcement Officer, Inspector Shawna Baher. “The Surrey RCMP continues to advance investigations on a number of individuals that pose the most significant risk to public safety. We are also involved in a number of prevention efforts to address the root causes of the violence seen in Surrey.”

Further arrests are anticipated as the investigation continues, however, the Surrey RCMP is seeking additional information on the following individuals wanted on drug trafficking charges:

Priya SANDHU (23 year old female, from Richmond) – Trafficking X 2
Abdulhamid SULTAN (20 year old male, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 1
James GRIFFITHS (43 year old male, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 11
Layla LOW (22 year old female, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 5

Anyone with further information on the activities of these individuals is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or Crime Stoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous, at 1-800-222-TIPS or go to www.solvecrime.ca.