The Canadian Police knew about the controversial invitation to a convicted Khalistani militant to a function Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was to attend in New Delhi at least two days before it was scheduled, CBC reported on Tuesday.
This contradicts the information the police gave earlier that it came to know of the invitation only on February 22, the day the dinner was scheduled. The government said the police had given the updated information on April 17.
The invitation to Jaspal Atwal during Trudeau’s week-long visit to India had sparked controversy in the two countries. Atwal – a member of the banned International Sikh Youth Federation who was convicted in 1986 for trying to kill Punjab Cabinet minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in Vancouver Island – had attended a dinner hosted in honour of Trudeau in Mumbai on February 20. An invitation to him to another dinner reception in New Delhi two days later was rescinded after a furore.
In a document tabled in the Canadian Parliament on Monday, the government said the police learned on February 20 – after the Mumbai dinner – that Atwal had been invited to two receptions during Trudeau’s India visit.
“Following additional review, the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] can confirm that it became aware of the invitation to Mr Atwal to attend the February 22, 2018, reception in New Delhi on Tuesday, February 20, 2018,” the government said in response to a question by an Opposition MP, according to CBC. “This was after the reception in Mumbai and before the New Delhi reception.”
In March, Canadian MP Randeep S Sarai had taken “full responsibility” for the dinner invitation to Atwal. He had said his office had forwarded the names of “anybody who expressed interest” for the event. He had denied knowing Atwal personally and said he would not resign as an MP, despite calls for him to step down.