John Le and Vijay Singh
VIJAY Singh, a resident of both Burnaby and Toronto, and John Le of Markham, Ontario, were last week convicted of the kidnapping and second-degree murder of Harjinder Singh Sandhu, 28, of Brampton, and Puneet Singh Chhina, 26, of Nepean, Ontario, by a jury. Both men had been charged with first-degree murder.
The bodies of the victims were found in the trunk of a vehicle parked near Rosebank Road and the 4th Concession of Pickering, Ontario, on May 5, 2009. The men had been bound by tape and shot in the head.
Sandhu was awaiting trial for allegedly smuggling 30 kilograms of cocaine across the border. He was reportedly the driver of a transport truck that had bricks of cocaine with a street value of $3.8 million packed in a load of California oranges. He was arrested at the Ambassador Bridge on May 5, 2007.
The court heard that Sandhu was targeted because it was suspected that he stole a shipment of cocaine that belonged to Vijay Singh. Chhina just happened to be present with Sandhu when the latter was lured to Vijay Singh’s house in Scarborough, Toronto, with an offer of cheap heroin.
DNA evidence, phone and financial records and a former criminal colleague’s testimony helped convict the two men.
Michael Lopez testified that he was ordered to clean up after the victims were assaulted at Vijay Singh’s house. He told the court that after Vijay Singh and Le left with the victims, he tried cleaning up but ended up spreading blood in the kitchen. DNA from the victims was recovered from the home.
Lopez said Vijay Singh related to him how he held his pistol under Sandhu’s chin and fired. He shot Chhina in the forehead.
The jury heard that Lopez had agreed to testify in exchange for having
He said that the next day Mr. Singh gave an account of the killings, describing how he parked in Pickering, opened the trunk, held the muzzle of his pistol under Mr. Sandhu’s chin, and fired. He then shot Mr. Chhina in the forehead, court heard.
The jury heard that drug and weapons charges were dropped against Lopez for agreeing to testify.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 14.
Ontario’s Durham Regional Police arrested John Le, then 38 years old, in January 2010. They arrested Vijay Singh, then 29 years old, with the assistance of the RCMP in B.C., in February 2010.
Vijay Singh is also charged with first-degree murder in the June 2004 killing of Toronto financial and credit consultant Gaurev “Gary” Bazaz, 31, who operated Tamanna Enterprises and was also involved in booking entertainment acts from India for local venues. He was charged in November 2010.