Plot to kill Air India bombing case witness


Vancouver : The police here have charged an Indo-Canadian truck driver with plotting to kill a key witness in the 1998 murder of Tara Singh Hayer, the editor of a local Punjabi weekly who was to depose as a main witness in the Air India bombing trial.

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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 Air India trial.

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

The truck driver, Rajinder Singh Soomel from Surrey near here who was nabbed in October, has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to kill Hardip Singh Uppal, who “cooperated” with investigators in the case.

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 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.

The truck driver faces sentencing hearings later this month.