A man shot to death in northwest Winnipeg last week has been charged with extortion and sending money to gang associates in India, according to Indian police documents.
Sukhdool Singh Gill, who also went by the name Sukha Duneke, was known as a notorious criminal in India for allegedly organizing attacks on rival gang members there, according to Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi.
“You have a network in Punjab that carries out attacks for money or for other reasons,” said Sahni, whose nonprofit institute researches security issues in South Asia.
Those “other motives” include attacks on rival gang members, according to Sahni.
Gill was found shot to death last Wednesday after Winnipeg police were called to a home on Hazelton Drive in the city’s northwest around 10 a.m. The homicide unit is investigating and no arrests have been made, Winnipeg police said.
Gill appeared on a wanted list published through social media platform X last week by India’s National Investigation Agency, a specialized law enforcement agency.
Indian police reports called first information reports, which CBC translated from Punjabi to English, suggest that Gill was part of the Bambiha gang.
Police allege that while in Canada, Gill helped a gang in India with “kidnappings and robberies,” according to a report filed in November 2020, after police on patrol spoke with an informant whose information they called “concrete.” and confiable”.
“He gets them money to buy weapons (guns, ammunition)” and “places to hide,” according to the report.
“If they are followed and captured, a large amount of illegal weapons can be confiscated.”
Police in the Indian district of Moga allege that Gill left India in 2017 with a passport he obtained with the help of agents.
There are 18 criminal cases potentially linked to him. Indian court records show nine of the cases are “not arrested” and “under investigation or trial.” Five others are recorded as acquittals, one case was overturned and there was a conviction.
Gill “has had a long-running dispute with several other gangs…gangs based in India and Canada,” Sahni told CBC.
Gill is also named in another police indictment in India that says he threatened a doctor and demanded payment of 10 lakh rupees, which is equivalent to about 16,000 Canadian dollars.
The doctor, who had a son who was abroad, told the police that the call came from a person who identified himself as Sukha Duneke and said, “if you don’t give us Rs 10 lakh, we will kill you and your family.” “. according to the report.
“My whole family is terrified by your threatening phone calls,” the doctor told police.
Gill’s file also contains a police report linking his name to the shooting death of Sandeep Singh Sandhua British athlete, by four attackers in the Jalandhar district of Punjab, in March 2022.
Sahni said Gill’s death is a sign that gang activity in India is spreading to Canada.
“Canada is already starting to pay the price in terms of gangster, gangster activity originating from Punjab within Canada today,” he said.
Needs a “more constructive” relationship with India
Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen’s University, said the Canadian government needs to take this type of violence more seriously.
“What this suggests to me is that we need to have more constructive relations with India over these allegations,” Leuprecht said.
“If India has concrete evidence it wants to provide, we have standard mechanisms that [use to] negotiate with allies and partners about this,” including mutual legal assistance treaties and notices through Interpol, he said.
Const. of Winnipeg Police. Dani McKinnon said Tuesday that Gill’s murder has not been related to gang activity, but that is one avenue investigators are exploring.
On Monday, officers from the forensic identification unit were at the Hazelton Drive home, which was still cordoned off with yellow police tape.
Sammer Singh, who lives in the duplex unit next to where Gill was found dead, said he and three roommates were home last Wednesday morning when police arrived.
“We heard the police breaking into our house… and they arrested us,” Singh said. “We were sleeping there and they grabbed us and asked us questions like ‘did you hear gunshots?’ “We didn’t hear anything.”
McKinnon did not elaborate on Singh’s allegations that he and his roommates were arrested, but said people can be detained for safety reasons when officers encounter a situation like the one in Hazelton.
Singh said he doesn’t know his neighbors, but he saw luxury cars pulling up to the house.
He also said he left Surrey, BC, two months ago to get away from crime and now plans to move elsewhere in Winnipeg.