India Is Prepared to Help Canada With Its Extortion Investigation, But Envoy Verma Says “Canadians Have Not Requested”

Sanjay Kumar Verma, India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa, has said that his country is willing to cooperate with the investigation of gangs suspected of extorting Indo-Canadians. But official requests from Ottawa are required, as is supporting documentation. The comments were made in conjunction with Edmonton, Alberta, police revealing that they thought 27 crimes, including extortions, were “orchestrated from India.”

The Hindustan Times cited him as stating, “Canadians are yet to request, with evidence.” He said, “We shall act accordingly if specific and relevant evidence — not merely unsubstantiated allegations — is shared with us, pointing to links between Canadian extortionists and Indian gangsters.”

Canada’s police are looking into a string of extortions and associated crimes by criminals in Edmonton, Alberta, who are specifically targeting South Asian individuals. According to Edmonton Police, victims are usually sent a WhatsApp message requesting payment for their protection, which is considered a recent development in Canada.

Though authorities said there was no proof linking the crimes in British Columbia and Ontario to the ones in the Edmonton region, similar events have been recorded in other states as well. According to police, there have been reports of 27 events between October and January, including drive-by shootings, extortions, and arson. Inspector Lance Parker of the Edmonton Police Department informed reporters, “At this point, we believe the series has been committed by a group of local individuals being directed by a suspect in India.”

Parker said that six young guys had been taken into custody by police in relation to the guns and arson charges. Although a fireman was hurt in one of the arsons, no casualties from the gunshots have been confirmed. At least USD 6.7 million worth of property damage has been documented. This occurs at a time when diplomatic relations between Canada and India have deteriorated recently due to claims made by Canada that Indian operatives were responsible for the death of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia last year. India has denied the claim and requested evidence from Canada.

Recently, the government of Justin Trudeau was encouraged by two mayors of major Canadian cities to assist in developing a multi-jurisdictional approach to counter the growing danger of extortion against companies. The mayors of Surrey and Brampton express their extreme worry for their towns in a letter sent to the minister of public safety.

The letter, which was signed by Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, said that “these incidents have instilled fear in our communities and highlight the urgent need for a coordinated response involving multiple jurisdictions,” as reported by The Toronto Star. They said, “We implore your ministry to acknowledge the cross-jurisdictional character of these threats and to lead an integrated response that guarantees the safety and security of all impacted communities throughout Canada.”

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