Documents reveal past of B.C. Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s alleged killer

One of the alleged hitmen accused of killing B.C. Sikh temple leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar was arrested and released in Surrey, B.C., shortly before the attack, according to court records.

Three weeks before Nijjar was gunned down in an ambush that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has linked to the government of India, Surrey RCMP charged Amandeep Singh with fleeing police and dangerous driving.

Documents obtained by Global News show that Singh signed an undertaking on June 6, 2023, in which he agreed he would turn up for his court appearances and not possess firearms.

Twelve days later, he allegedly opened fire on Nijjar in the parking lot of Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, a killing that some believe has the hallmarks of a political assassination.

The case suggests that Singh, who was arrested in Brampton, Ont. on Saturday for Nijjar’s killing, was in the vicinity of the B.C. temple and allegedly behaving erratically prior to the shooting.

The RCMP is investigating the possible involvement of the Indian government, which had long complained about Nijjar, a Canadian leader of the Khalistan movement that seeks independence for India’s Punjab.

The plot was allegedly part of a trend in which foreign intelligence services are contracting out killings to crime groups. Singh, 22, appeared in B.C. court by phone from Ontario on Wednesday to face murder and conspiracy charges.


Karan Brar (top left), Kamalpreet Singh (top middle), Karanpreet Singh (top right) and Amandeep Singh have been charged with killing Hardeep Singh Nijjar.


RCMP

Like the three others accused of taking part in Nijjar’s killing, Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh, he is an Indian national in his 20s who came to Canada on a temporary visa, a source familiar with the matter said.

Singh came to Surrey to study, but took a year off and worked nightshifts at a warehouse, said a separate source, who spoke on the condition of not being identified because of safety fears.

He then appeared to take a turn. He got an arm tattoo with the image of a gun, drove a muscle car and wore expensive sneakers, prompting questions about where he was getting his money, the source said.

On March 26, 2023, Singh allegedly failed to stop when the RCMP tried to pull his vehicle over about four kilometres from the Guru Nanak temple, court records indicate. He was charged on May 26, but released on an undertaking to appear in court in Surrey on June 16.

Nijjar was killed two days later.

At the time, Singh was staying in the basement suite of a $2-million home in Surrey, about a six-minute drive from where Nijjar was shot, court records show.


Hardeep Singh Nijjar was the leader of the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple in Surrey, B.C.


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He then moved to Ontario, where he stayed with a friend in north Brampton until he was arrested with four others on Nov. 3, 2023.

According to the court file in the case, Singh was accused of being an occupant in a 2021 Peterbilt 579 semi-trailer in which a loaded firearm was found.

He was charged with nine counts, including possession of an FN 509 9mm pistol with a 24-round extended magazine. He was also charged with failing to comply with an undertaking not to possess weapons.

His court file notes that he required a Punjabi interpreter.

A handgun seized by Peel Police during the arrest of Amandeep Singh in Vaughan, Ont. on Nov. 3, 2023.


A handgun seized by Peel Police during the arrest of Amandeep Singh in Vaughan, Ont. on Nov. 3, 2023.


Peel Police

According to a source familiar with the Brampton property listed in court documents as Singh’s address, he did not live at the residence but often stayed there with one of the tenants, Swaranpreet Singh.

A man by that name was among those arrested on Nov. 3.

A neighbour recalled a heavy police presence on the street as officers raided the suburban home.

“Anybody who was at the house at that time, they all got put in custody and questioned,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of not being identified.

Singh was still detained and awaiting trial in Ontario on May 11 when he was charged with Nijjar’s murder.

India has denied any role in the conspiracy, blamed gangs and complained that Canada has failed to crack down on the Khalistan movement, which New Delhi views as a security threat.

Moninder Singh, Nijjar’s close friend, welcomed the latest arrest but said the Sikh community was focused on what he called the primary culprit: India.

“These individuals were sent for Hardeep Singh Nijjar, and tomorrow another team of these types of individuals could be sent for another Sikh leader speaking about sovereignty and Khalistan,” he said.

“Justice for this political assassination is a combination of convictions and appropriate sentencing and also a public inquiry solely into India’s role in this assassination and interference in Canada and the immediate suspension of all intelligence sharing agreements with India.”


The Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, in Surrey, B.C., on May 4.


Global News

Shortly after Nijjar was killed, the U.S. announced it had disrupted a similar plot against Nijjar’s associate, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

In the U.S. case, an Indian intelligence officer based in New Delhi is accused of hiring an Indian crime figure to kill Pannun.

The plot was allegedly orchestrated by India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), which reports to the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Both Nijjar and Pannun were organizing a referendum on Khalistan at the time they were targeted.

Pannun said in an interview that only the “foot soldiers” had been arrested so far. “They are just members of Modi’s his squad,” said Pannun, the lawyer for the advocacy group Sikhs for Justice.

But the “kingpins” had not yet been brought to justice, he said. He accused Indian diplomats, consular representatives and RAW agents in Ottawa and Vancouver of involvement in the plot, and urged Canada to investigate.


Photo of spray can released by Indian police on May 13, 2023, after three men were arrested for painting pro-Khalistan slogans on walls.


Punjab Police

Since the RCMP arrests, India has launched “a wave of terror” against pro-Khalistan activists in India, Pannun said.

“In the last one week over two dozen residences of Khalistan referendum campaigners were raided and the women members of the families were illegally detained to pressure them to produce male campaigners before the police,” he said.

The Punjab Police said in a post on X that it had arrested three men it called Sikhs for Justice “operatives.”

The director general of the police force, Gaurav Yadav, posted a photo of a spray paint can and accused the men of “writing pro-Khalistan slogans at various public places.”

Yadav called the case a “major breakthrough” and claimed the men were backed by the “mastermind” Pannun.

“The investigation has been carried out in a professional and scientific manner,” he wrote.

[email protected] with files from Rumina Daya

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