Probe into Nijjar’s killing marred by Canada’s statements: High Commissioner Verma

Toronto: Urging Canada to release evidence on radical Sikh Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing, India’s High Commissioner to Canada said that the probe into the Khalistan leader’s killing in June was marred by a high-level Canadian official’s public statements, a media report said.

In an interview to the Globe and Mail newspaper, Sanjay Kumar Verma said neither Canada nor its allies have shown concrete evidence backing PM Justin Trudeau’s allegations that Indian agents were behind Nijjar’s killing outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia province.

“There is no specific or relevant information provided in this case for us to assist them in the investigation,” Verma told the Canadian daily.

Trudeau’s allegations have led to a diplomatic spat between India and Canada with New Delhi rejecting Ottawa’s claims as “absurd and motivated”, followed by tit-for-tat expulsions of senior diplomats and travel advisories.

“Where is the evidence? Where is the conclusion of the investigation? I would go a step further and say now the investigation has already been tainted,” Verma told the newspaper.

“A direction has come from someone at a high level to say India or Indian agents are behind it,” Verma said without naming the “high-level official”.

Canadian government sources told media outlets that Ottawa had amassed intelligence involving communications between Indian officials, diplomats and information “provided by an unnamed ally in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance”, during a month-long probe on Nijjar’s killing.

“You are talking about illegal wiretaps and talking about evidence. Conversations between two diplomats are secure by all international law,” Verma said.

“Show me how you captured these conversations. Show me that someone did not mimic the voice,” Verma said, adding that any conversations between diplomats are “protected” and cannot be used as evidence in court or released publicly.

Verma also pointed out that in the past five to six years, India made 26 requests to Canada to extradite people from the country to India, and it still awaits action on that.

In Canada, Verma has been repeatedly threatened by the extremist Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) group and its leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun who have been holding him responsible for Nijjar’s death.

The envoy said he is concerned about his safety and security and other Indian diplomats stationed in Canada.


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