Four-year jail in Kanishka witness murder case

March 29th, 2008 - 11:31 pm ICT by admin  

Vancouver, March 29 (IANS) An Indo-Canadian truck driver who plotted to kill a witness in the 1998 murder of Tara Singh Hayer, the editor of a local Punjabi weekly, has been jailed for four years. Trucker Rajinder Singh Soomel, 33, of Surrey here had hired a contract killer to eliminate Hardip Singh Uppal who had given the police information about the killing of Hayer. But the hired contract killer was actually a cop who was part of a police sting operation to uncover evidence in the Hayer murder case.

Hayer, the editor of Punjabi Indo-Canadian Times, was killed in November 1998, allegedly by an assassin hired by the Babbar Khalsa to prevent him from giving his testimony at the Kanishka Air India trial.

The alleged assassin, Daljit Singh Basran, who was reportedly killed in 2006, was paid $50,000 to execute the Hayer murder plot by the banned radical Sikh organization.

Soomel, who was nabbed in October, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to kill Hardip Singh Uppal earlier this month.

Actually, it is Soomel’s younger brother Robbie Soomel who is a suspect in the killing of Hayer.

This information came out during investigations into the shooting death of another Indo-Canadian, Gurpreet Singh Sohi whom the Soomel brothers suspect was involved in a 2000 attack on their home in south Vancouver.

A known journalist, Tara Singh Hayer, was to appear as a main witness at the yet-to-start Air India bombing trial when he was gunned down in his garage Nov 18, 1998.

It is speculated that had he been alive and testified, the Air India bombing plot would have been unearthed.

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