Murderer Ninderjit Singh pleads guilty to aggravated assault in 1997 shooting

Ninderjit Singh
Ninderjit Singh

NINDERJIT Singh, 36, also known as Ninderjit Singh Soos, has entered a guilty plea to aggravated assault in connection with the May 1997 shooting of Roger Manhas outside a movie theater on Vancouver’s Kingsway.

Crown decided not to proceed with charges of attempted murder using a firearm and discharging a firearm with intent to wound.

He sentencing hearing will take place on September 8.

Singh was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 16 years last year when in a surprise move he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder in the January 1999 shooting death of Poonam Randhawa, 19.

The maximum sentence for aggravated assault is 14 years and any sentence he receives will run concurrently with that sentence.

The Province newspaper reported that Manhas was shot in the back and legs. He was watching a movie with his wife when he got into an altercation with a group of men who wanted their seats. He was leaving the theatre when another confrontation took place outside the theatre in which Singh opened fire.

Manhas said that Singh actually held the gun to the back of his head, but the weapon either jammed or Singh was scared away by Manhas’ friends parked across the street.

Poonam Randhawa and Ninderjit Singh in 1999
Poonam Randhawa and Ninderjit Singh in 1999

SINGH was arrested in California in August 2011 and subsequently extradited back to Canada to face a first-degree murder charge in connection with Randhawa’s death.

During the sentencing hearing for Ninderjit Singh, Crown counsel Sandy Cunningham told court that his family paid $150,000 for illegally forged identification that enabled him to get a U.S. social security number and other documents in New York state. Then he fraudulently obtained a driver’s licence from Arizona state.

She said that every member of his family lied to police about his whereabouts and any contact with him. Yet his mom went to California to spend time with him and his wife after his two kids were born.

Pointing out several aggravating factors, Cunningham noted that he shot Randhawa point blank in his friend’s car after he had questioned her about going out with other men and felt he had been made to look a fool with his friends. He had even assaulted her after becoming controlling. After shooting her in the head, he dumped her body in a laneway and then fled to Seattle from where he caught a flight to California the same day.

Changing his appearance and with a false identity, he eluded police for more than 12 years.

Vancouver Police investigators finally carried out a Mr. Big undercover operation. Posing as members of a criminal organization, they zeroed in on Singh’s half-brother Parmjit Soos in Calgary and tracked down Singh in San Jacinto, California.

Soos was trying to arrange an operation to alter his brother’s fingerprints and police told him that they knew a surgeon in Las Vegas. They provided him with a cellphone that was to be used only for contacting Singh. Through that cellphone, police got hold of Singh’s phone number and address.

Cunningham said Singh’s friend, Paul Aulakh, who was driving the vehicle in which Randhawa was shot signed an immunity agreement. He claimed that he didn’t know that Singh had a gun or that he planned to harm Randhawa.