Ninderjit Singh, the man arrested in connection with the 1999 murder of 18-year-old Poonam Randhawa, is also wanted in Vancouver for attempted murder in a shooting two years prior, according to new documents filed in a U.S. court.
On Wednesday Singh, 33, appeared in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles five days after federal agents arrested him as he was leaving his San Jacinto home. He told the judge he would waive extradition, paving the way for his immediate return to Vancouver. He’d been on the lam ever since he allegedly shot the popular 18-year-old honours graduate on Jan. 26, 1999 as they sat in a car.
Documents filed in the U.S. court also shed new light on the circumstances around the murder.
In the complaint filed in U.S. court based on information supplied by Vancouver’s lead detective on the case, U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Lana Morton-Owens said Canadian investigators only became aware after he was arrested that Singh was wanted in Vancouver under an alias for attempted murder. In 1997 he allegedly got into a dispute with a couple at a movie theatre and shot one person in the leg. The warrant in that case was issued 18 months after Randhawa was murdered.
The U.S. court document doesn’t identify Singh’s alias, but a court case in B.C. Provincial Court shows Ninderjit Singh Soos was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and discharging a firearm with intent to wound. The incident took place on May 3, 1997 and the case was filed in July, 2000. The case was unreported in the media. Police in the past have said Singh used several aliases, including Ninderjit Soos and Bira Singh. Soos is his stepfather’s last name.
Vancouver Const. Jana McGuinness said explained the old file in the court database wasn’t accessible by the police department’s database. She said investigators have been reassigned to both cases “and will be very aggressively pursuing charges”, including anyone who aided Singh in the killing or his flight from justice.
The U.S. document also indicates when federal officers searched Singh’s California home they found four guns, one of which was confirmed stolen.
Singh was arrested Friday after one of the longest manhunts in the Vancouver police department’s history. He was tracked down by dogged investigators after they learned of an alias he might be using. They discovered he’d greatly changed his appearance, had married and was working as a long-haul trucker. He was arrested after California Highway Patrol surreptitiously obtained his thumbprints during a bogus traffic stop.
In her brief Morton-Owens said Randhawa “had been dating” Singh but ended the relationship in December, 1998 after he assaulted her. Friends said she’d been stalked by Singh.
A month later, on Jan. 26 at 12:13 p.m. Singh was in a car being driven by Paul Aulakh when he saw Randhawa in a vehicle with two friends at the same intersection.
Singh told Randhawa to get into the car with him and she got into the back seat. Singh was in the passenger seat up front.
“As Paul Aulakh drove westbound on West 57th Avenue between Cambie Street and Oak Street, Singh pulled out a gun and pointed at Randhawa’s head. Singh then shot Randhawa in the head,” the court document states.
Singh then dumped her in a lane at West 47th Ave. Less than 15 minutes later police arrived to find Randhawa’s body.
Singh told another friend, Raja Bisla, that his aunt had died and he needed money and a ride to Seattle. Bisla gave Singh $200 and drove him and Aulakh to Sea-Tac Airport near Seattle. From there Singh flew to Los Angeles.
Aulakh stored his bloody car in a garage and told Salinder Chahal, an associate of Singh, what had happened. Chahal told Aulakh to immediately call police. Later that day Singh was charged with first degree murder and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
McGuinness said evidence at the time only supported a case against Singh but detectives will now re-examine whether others can be charged.
On Tuesday Vancouver police said they long believed that members of Singh’s family had aided in his flight from justice and that more charges could be laid.
This article was written by Jeff Lee and published by the Vancouver Sun on August 24, 2011.
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