AS I have always said, NOTHING can justify any murder.

You can always vehemently disagree with someone, but that gives you no right to threaten or assault the person, let alone murder them – or get them murdered.

The RCMP are still pursuing leads in the November 18, 1998 murder of Tara Singh Hayer. Project Expedio is probing several murders in B.C. that are believed to be linked to one another.

Back in February 2006, the family of Daljit Singh (Umboo) Basran – the man who was identified in court as the alleged killer of Hayer – reported him missing to Vancouver Police and police said that there was a strong possibility that he’d met with foul play.

Police said in court that Hardip Uppal had claimed that Ravinder (Robbie) Soomel confessed to him that Hayer’s murder was carried out by him and Basran on the orders of a Kamloops contact with Babbar Khalsa, now labeled a terrorist group. Soomel allegedly told Uppal that he drove the getaway car while Basran carried out the hit.

Soomel was found guilty in May 2003 of the first-degree September 2000 murder of Gurpreet Singh Sohi in Delta and has been serving a life sentence, while Uppal was found guilty of manslaughter in February 2004 in the same case.

In October, 2007, RCMP’s Project Expedio Task Force arrested Soomel’s older brother, Rajinder, and an RCMP spokesperson said that the Crown counsel office had approved a charge of attempted murder against him. In March 2008, a local newspaper broke the story that Rajinder had pleaded guilty during a court appearance to attempted murder for plotting to kill Uppal, who’d been ratting out South Asian gangsters regarding a series of unsolved murders.

In September 2009, Rajinder Soomel was killed on Cambie Street in Vancouver. Vancouver Police said: “Mr. Soomel was in the wrong place at the wrong time when gunmen came looking for another target, who was also a parolee staying at the same half-way house.”

In December 2010, Ravinder Soomel was sentenced to five years in prison in the November 1997 killing of Jason Herle of Abbotsford after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.

Quite apparently, police still hope to track down those who hired the killers of Hayer. And that could lead them to suspects in the Air India case.

On the other hand, there are apparently some desperate people who are trying to kill off all those who could help police to identify them.

It’s been 15 years since Hayer was killed, but it’s still vital that police track down either the killer or killers, if they are still alive, or those who hired them.

The RCMP have lost a great deal of credibility in the community for failing to get anyone convicted in the Air India bombing.

Nabbing the killer (or killers) of Hayer or those who hired them would restore that credibility to a large extent.


– Rattan Mall