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Man accused in death of Sikh activist appeared in court just 2 days before the killing

Amandeep Singh, the fourth man charged in connection with the killing of prominent Sikh-Canadian activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was already caught up in the Canadian justice system at the time of Nijjar's death, CBC News has learned.

Amandeep Singh was also arrested on separate firearms and drug charges in Ontario last November.

A man with dark hair frowns.

Amandeep Singh, the fourth man charged in connection with the killing of prominent Sikh-Canadian activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was already caught up in the Canadian justice system at the time of Nijjar's death, CBC News has learned.

The Indian national, who entered Canada on a temporary visa, appeared in a Surrey, B.C. courtroom to answer charges on an unrelated matter just two days before, according to police, he lay in wait for Nijjar at the entrance to the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara. Nijjar was shot multiple times and died at the scene.

Amandeep Singh had been arrested in Surrey, B.C. on a warrant after fleeing from police in March 2023. He was charged with flight from police and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and made a first court appearance on June 16, 2023. Nijjar was killed on June 18.

Court documents show that his case came up before the court again 19 days after the killing, on July 7, and was proceeding through the system toward a trial, scheduled for later this year, when he was arrested on separate firearms and drug charges in Brampton, Ont. last November.

B.C. court documents from last June also show that Singh signed an undertaking agreeing to not possess firearms or ammunition, and to not be in the driver's seat of any motor vehicle.

Amandeep Singh was not among the first group of three men arrested by the RCMP in connection with Nijjar's killing on May 3 in raids in the Edmonton area. At the time, he was already in custody in Ontario for the November charges.

British Columbia's Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) charged him in the Nijjar case on May 11. IHIT said it had "pursued the evidence and gained sufficient information for the B.C. Prosecution Service to charge Amandeep Singh with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder."

On Wednesday, he appeared in a Surrey provincial court virtually from a detention centre in Ontario to answer those charges.

He now faces the same charges as co-accused Karan Brar, Karanpreet Singh and Kamalpreet Singh, who are all alleged to have participated in killing Nijjar.

All four men charged with Nijjar's murder are expected to appear in court next Tuesday, May 21. None of them have entered a plea yet.

Sources inside the police investigation, and sources in the government of Canada with knowledge of its intelligence-gathering and intelligence-sharing with Five Eyes partners, have told CBC News that evidence connects the murder plot directly to the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, now campaigning to win a third term as leader of the world's most populous nation.

Like the other three accused, Amandeep Singh is believed by investigators to be affiliated with an Indian organized crime group led by Punjabi gangster Lawrence Bishnoi.

He divided his time between Surrey, Abbotsford B.C. and Brampton, all home to large Sikh communities.

Amandeep Singh has been in custody since his car was stopped in Brampton on Nov. 3 by the Special Enforcement Bureau of the Peel Regional Police. Police say he was found in possession of a Fabrique Nationale Model 509 semi-automatic pistol with a 24-round extended magazine loaded with 20 9mm rounds.

Another car stopped later the same day was searched and found to contain two more extended magazines.

Pistol magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds are prohibited items under Canadian law.

Singh was charged with a number of firearms offences as well as two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Four other men were arrested in the two vehicle stops: Jobanpreet Singh, 20, Maninder Singh, 21, Ramanpreet Singh, 30, and Swaranpreet Singh, 20. All are listed as residents of Brampton and all remain in custody on firearms possession charges. They were not charged with drug offences and are not accused in the Nijjar murder.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Evan Dyer

Senior Reporter

Evan Dyer has been a journalist with CBC for 25 years, after an early career as a freelancer in Argentina. He works in the Parliamentary Bureau and can be reached at evan.dyer@cbc.ca.

    With files from Rhianna Schmunk

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    Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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