India Ready to Assist Canada in Extortion Investigation with Formal Request: High Commissioner
India has expressed its willingness to assist Canada in investigating the links to gangs operating in the country and conducting extortion targeting Indo-Canadians. However, India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa, Sanjay Kumar Verma, emphasized that a formal request from the Canadian government, along with evidence, is necessary for any action to be taken.
The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) in Alberta, Canada, recently revealed that it believes these crimes, which include 27 ongoing investigations, are being orchestrated from India. Despite this revelation, Canadian authorities have not yet reached out to their Indian counterparts.
Verma stated, “Canadians are yet to request, with evidence.” He did, however, highlight the existence of mechanisms between the two governments to cooperate on organized crime matters. He emphasized that if specific and relevant evidence pointing to links between Canadian extortionists and Indian gangsters is shared, India will act accordingly.
EPS is currently investigating an “extortion series” that has plagued the region since October last year. This series includes five extortions, 15 arsons, and seven firearms offenses. The EPS described these crimes as part of an organized crime network.
During a press conference, EPS Staff Sgt Dave Paton revealed that victims received initial contact through WhatsApp, followed by requests for compensation to ensure their safety. The EPS has made six arrests related to the series, with charges ranging from firearms-related offenses to arson.
While no injuries have been reported from the violent tactics employed by these gangs, the incidents have resulted in approximately CA$9 million in property damage.
Similar extortion attempts have also been reported in other regions of Canada, such as the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia and the Greater Toronto Area.
India’s willingness to cooperate in this investigation highlights the commitment of both countries to tackle organized crime and protect their citizens. As the investigation progresses, it is hoped that the necessary evidence and formal requests will be provided, allowing for effective collaboration between Indian and Canadian authorities.
By working together, India and Canada can address this alarming issue and bring those responsible for the extortion series to justice, ensuring the safety and security of the affected communities.