GG News Bureau
Ottawa, 28th Nov. India’s High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma said that Indian government is cooperating with an American investigation into alleged thwarted assassination attempt and not Canada’s probe into the June killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia’s Surrey due to a disparity between the information both nations shared in their investigation.
Speaking to CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos, Sanjay Kumar Verma said that his understanding is that US authorities have shared more specific information regarding the investigation with India than Canada has and that he stressed is likely the differentiating factor in the level of India’s cooperation in both cases.
Recently, UK-based Financial Times published a report claiming that the US thwarted a plan to allegedly assassinate India-designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil. According to the Financial Times which quoted people familiar with the matter, the US had informed India of concerns regarding the alleged plot to kill Pannun.
Earlier in September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations regarding India’s involvement in Nijjar’s killing. India has rejected the allegations and called them “absurd” and politically motivated.”
Verma said India was “absolutely” and “decidedly” not involved in the homicide, terming it a “motivated and absurd allegation.” The allegations caused diplomatic tensions between the two nations.
The Indian envoy said that his understanding is that Indian authorities are cooperating in the American investigation as they have been presented with “inputs which are legally presentable.”
“One is that the investigation in the case of the US, as far as I know and understand, because again, I don’t oversee India-US relations is at a much advanced stage. And therefore, I presume that there would be better information shared within India,” he told CTV News.
“Those inputs are a nexus between gangsters, drug peddlers, terrorists, and gun runners in the US, and there is a belief that some of the Indian connections – now when I say Indian connections, I don’t mean Government of India connections, there’s 1.4 billion people. Because we have got inputs, which are legally presentable,” he said.
Speaking about Canada’s inputs related to Nijjar’s killing, he said that Indian authorities will not be able to respond on the case as conversations could have some facts of the case. However, allegations and facts do not make it specific and relevant.
Asked whether Canada’s national security advisor shared inputs related to allegations related to Nijjar’s killing, he said, “Until the time it is not specific or relevant to the case, we will not be able to respond to it. There could be a lot of conversation. Conversations could have allegations, conversations could have some facts of the case, but allegations and facts do not make it specific and relevant.”
“So we need to have those facts. And we are always ready to do that. If you look at the most recent incident to where there are some allegations put out in one of the newspapers against India, the US did provide us inputs. And we have already started following up on that,” he told CTV News.
Verma stressed that conversations between India and Canada did take place during Canada’s National Security Adviser’s visit to India. However, he added that India needed specific information to seek permission from legal authorities to conduct an investigation.
Asked whether Canada’s National Security Advisor did not share any specific allegation, Sanjay Kumar Verma said, “So conversations took place. But we needed something specific and relevant to go back to our legal authorities to seek permission to do investigation that we would have wanted to do. So until the time that those kinds of inputs are not there, in a country of rule of law, it will not be possible for us to move forward on the investigations.”
Revealing details regarding the inputs shared by US with India, Mr Verma said that these inputs are regarding a nexus between gangsters, drug peddlers, terrorists and gun runners in the US and there are beliefs that there are some Indian connections with it, which he stressed were not government of India connections.
“Those inputs are a nexus between gangsters, drug peddlers, terrorists, and gun runners in the U.S., and there is a belief that some of the Indian connections — now when I say Indian connections, I don’t mean the government of India connections, there is 1.4 billion people, so some of the Indian connections are there — they are ready to investigate. Because we have got inputs, which are legally presentable,” Verma told CTV News.
On November 22, Ministry of External Affairs said that the US side shared some inputs pertaining to the nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others during the course of recent discussions on India-US security cooperation and issues in the context are already being examined by relevant departments.
Responding to media queries on reports of discussions between India and the US on security matters, the MEA said India takes such inputs seriously since it impinges on its own security interests as well. He said the inputs are the cause of concern for both countries and necessary follow-up action is being taken. (Agency feed)