Indo-Canadians among those charged in Canada’s biggest robbery | Chandigarh News

Two Indo-Canadians from Brampton, working with Canadian airline Air Canada, allegedly played a key role in a sensational broad daylight gold heist from Toronto Pearson International Airport in April 2023. The heist, worth C$23 million worth of stolen goods and cash, surpassing all previous thefts in the country.

Parmpal Sidhu, 54, who worked at Air Canada’s cargo facility from where the 400-kilo gold shipment was casually expelled, has been arrested and is facing multiple charges. Simranpreet Singh Panesar, 31, a manager at the airline at the time of the robbery, is at large and a Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued.

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It may sound like it’s straight out of a Hollywood potboiler – think ‘Ocean’s 11’ – and Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah described it as such, saying it “belongs in a Netflix series.”

But what was even more remarkable was its simplicity. You didn’t have to crawl through AC ducts (“Mission: Impossible”) or criss-cross laser beams (“Entrapment”) to enter a high-security vault. Instead, a duplicate air ticket for a shipment of seafood was presented in a drab warehouse on the sprawling airport complex. Only instead it was the gold housed in the same facility that was loaded into a truck and driven away. Their confidence was striking. Panesar would even give police a “tour” of the facility.

AP It was the gold housed in the same facility that was loaded into a truck and driven away. (AP photo)

For months, the Canadian investigation was unable to make much progress. In fact, it was the Americans who provided the breakthrough in the case. Last September, Durante King-McLean, the 25-year-old from Brampton who was the driver of the truck that drove away with the gold, was arrested in Pennsylvania with a stash of illegal weapons that he was trying to smuggle into Canada. Later investigation linked him to the robbery.

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King-McLean’s arrest provided additional leads, resulting in further charges and arrests. A total of nine people are facing charges, including Prasath Paramalingam, 35, Archit Grover, 36, Amit Jalota, 40, Ammad Chaudhary, 43, Ali Raza, 37, and Arsalan Chaudhary, 42 – all from the Greater Toronto Area. Four of them, including Panesar, are on the run.

What happened to the gold? Police said it was melted down, sold and the proceeds used to smuggle weapons from the US into Canada – a lucrative illegal trade.

But the craziest thing about the whole thing is this. A day after police patted themselves on the back for solving the case and revealing details of the arrest, a video from Brampton went viral on social media. In that video, the camera follows a man in the parking lot of a gym. “That’s the guy over there,” the person shooting the camera shouts in disbelief, “those are the guys over there from the Air Canada heist!”

“The guy” he’s referring to looks like Parmpal Sidhu, coming out of the gym and sitting in his car – like a regular 9-to-5 guy on any given day. Police confirmed that Sidhu – and others arrested in Canada – had already been granted bail. “The person on the US side – King-McLean – is still in custody, so it frustrates us without a doubt, but as you know we are part of the system,” Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said. , quoted. as said by *Toronto Sun*.

Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre, a critic of Canada’s revolving door bail system, posted photos of all the suspects and wrote: “Why are these gold thieves laughing 48 hours after their arrest? Because Justin Trudeau’s catch-and-release laws let them out on bail!

(Daksh Panwar is a journalist and broadcaster from Ontario. Twitter: @Daksh280)