BY RATTAN MALL
LAST week’s arrest of Fushpinder Singh Brar, 30, of Surrey in the 2006 shooting case of Mahdi Halane that left the victim a quadriplegic until his death in 2012 at the age of 24 (see story “Fushpinder Singh Brar of Surrey arrested and charged in 2006 fatal shooting of Mahdi Halane” for more details), is a loud and clear warning to all South Asians and others out there that if you think you have gotten away with a crime just because so many years have elapsed, you had better give your head a good shake!
(Of course, Brar is innocent until proven guilty in court.)
Police have dedicated teams probing recent as well as historic homicide cases and advances in science have made getting evidence that will secure charges against suspects easier than ever before.
Even in the Air India bombing case, police are still actively trying to get evidence that will nail some of those suspected to have been involved in the horrendous plot that took place almost 30 years ago on June 23, 1985.
RCMP Sgt. Rob Vermeulen told The VOICE on Thursday that six fulltime investigators and one analyst still remain on the Air India case.
The bombing of Air India Flight 182 off the coast of Ireland caused the death of 329 people, and the Narita airport explosion in the luggage meant for another Air India plane in Japan on the same day resulted in the death of two baggage handlers.
The Air India Task Force became an investigative team in June 2012 under the E-Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (E-INSET) that consists of a large number of police investigators. So the team can draw upon the resources of E-INSET as and when needed.
In fact, when I reported on this last year, former solicitor general Kash Heed told me: “If they truly have that many [fulltime] people on it – and I really emphasize “truly” – then they’ve got some significant information that they’re following on.”
So the guilty ones still have no peace of mind!
POLICE are also still trying to nab those behind the murder of Punjabi publisher Tara Singh Hayer.
Let me take you step by step through this maze of murder incidents to show you that if killers are not caught by police, they are killed by other gangsters.
Back in February 2006, the family of Daljit Singh (Umboo) Basran – the man who was identified in court as the alleged killer of Hayer – reported him missing to Vancouver Police and police said that there was a strong possibility that he’d met with foul play.
Police had said in court that Hardip Uppal had claimed that Ravinder (Robbie) Soomel confessed to him that Hayer’s murder was carried out by him and Basran on the orders of a Kamloops contact with Babbar Khalsa, now labeled a terrorist group. Ravinder allegedly told Uppal that he drove the getaway car while Basran carried out the hit.
Ravinder was found guilty in May 2003 of the September 2000 murder of Gurpreet Singh Sohi in Delta and was sentenced to life in prison, while Uppal was found guilty of manslaughter in February 2004 in the same case.
In October 2007, RCMP’s Project Expedio Task Force arrested Soomel’s older brother, Rajinder, and an RCMP spokesperson said that the Crown counsel office had approved a charge of attempted murder against him. In March 2008, a local newspaper broke the story that Rajinder had pleaded guilty during a court appearance to attempted murder for plotting to kill Uppal, who’d been ratting out South Asian gangsters regarding a series of unsolved murders.
In September 2009, Rajinder was killed on Cambie Street in Vancouver. Vancouver Police said at the time that he “was in the wrong place at the wrong time when gunmen came looking for another target, who was also a parolee staying at the same half-way house.”
He was apparently mistaken for another gangster, Randy Naicker, who was later murdered in June 2012 in Port Moody. Incidentally, in June 2014, Colin Victor Stewart of Surrey and James Jones of Vancouver were charged and arrested in Rajinder’s murder.
In December 2010, Ravinder Soomel, who was already serving a life sentence, was sentenced to five years in prison in the November 1997 killing of Jason Herle of Abbotsford after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.
Quite apparently, police still hope to track down those who hired the killers of Hayer. And that could lead them to suspects in the Air India case.
On the other hand, there are apparently some desperate people who are trying to kill off all those who could help police to identify them.
THERE are still so many unsolved murder cases that police in the Lower Mainland are pursuing. One of them is the April 2011 stabbing incident at Surrey’s Frank Hurt Secondary School in which Devon Allaire-Bell, 19, was killed and his friend Jack Nielsen, 20, was seriously injured.
Devon and a friend were playing soccer when they became involved in a verbal dispute with a group of five South Asian males who they did not know. The dispute escalated into a physical fight. The South Asian males were said to be in their late teens or early twenties.
His parents, Wayne Bell and Cynthia Allaire-Bell, even appealed to the South Asian community at Surrey’s Dashmesh Darbar Gurdwara for help in tracking down their son’s killers. But apparently there has been no response.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) released video images of the group of suspects which they located with the help of the public. IHIT also managed to chart out the route that the suspects had taken on their way to the school.
Police noted: “Investigators wish to draw particular attention to the clothing worn by two of the suspects. Note the male dressed in light colored clothing with distinctive writing on the rear of his shirt. This male is also wearing a white and black ball cap. Also note the third male to enter the McDonald’s has a unique “marine style” hair cut, with the sides and back shaved and only a small amount of hair on top. While it may be difficult to identify any of these males on their own, investigators are hopeful that seeing them together in a group, may assist in this process.”
We will just have to wait and see what happens.
But one thing is for sure that killers never know when the cops will come to arrest them.
If you want to report any crime to police and remain anonymous, call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit www.solvecrime.ca. Your name can never be revealed – that’s the law.