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Indian origin man cries foul over deportation

January 26, 2009 18:25 IST

Manjeet Singh Rattu, who had been in detention with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Immigration Department since 2006 on charges of fraud, is being deported to India Monday by Jet Airways flight #229 that arrives New Delhi airport a little before mid-night Tuesday.

The RCMP had earlier also suspected him of being involved in the murder of Vancouver-based journalist Tara Singh Hayer, who was to testify in the British Columbia Supreme Court regarding the Air India tragedy of June 23, 1985. However, he was found to be innocent after a polygraph examination on June 4, 2006. 

However, Manjeet is crying foul. Pending his deportation, he is being held in West Detention Center in Toronto. In a telephone conversation with rediff.com, Manjeet claimed he had not signed any documents either agreeing to be deported to India or sought temporary travel documents from the Indian High Commission in Ottawa or the Consulate-General in Toronto.

"How could then the Canadian Border Services Agency deport me to India? How would the Indian immigration officials in New Delhi let me enter the country," he wonders.

His Indian passport was revoked way back in 2004. 

From Edmonton, Singh says he was brought to Toronto on Friday for being deported to India. 

Rediff.com's efforts to meet Singh at the West Detention Centre were in vain.

Rattu claimed he was locked up for 20 hours at a stretch and that too in a small cell with no windows. He called this violation of the Geneva Convention. "They have released me for only 20 minutes just to take shower," he said.

He believes that someone may have falsified his signatures on the official documents or else "How could the Indian government issue travel documents? How could Canada forcibly deport me to India without giving me any opportunity to challenge their action in the court?"

His Calgary-based attorney, Rrakesh Dewett said, "As of this time there is no conviction and charges are not proved. The RCMP had their investigation by way of polygraph test that has given him a clean chit."

Singh had been living in New York. He claims to have attained permanent US resident status. He was publishing some Punjab papers there. He visited Canada in May 2006. When he heard that authorities were looking for him over complaints he had passed some back cheques, Singh says he visited a police station in Calgary to sort the matter out. There he was detained on fraud charges.

Even though most charges have all been stayed, but Singh claims the immigration department has been pursuing him stating that there is a pending deportation order against him.

Ajit Jain in Toronto